ISLAMABAD: Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) here Wednesday directed Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to forward ‘code of conduct’ to all media channels and the channels which violated the same, their licences might be cancelled.
Justice Siddiqui was hearing the writ petition of Shuhada Foundation of Pakistan Trust (SFPT) that it had filed against the ARY television channel for airing defamatory programmes against the superior judiciary judges. It was on June 11 when the same court through an interim order directed Pemra to ensure that “Mubasher Lucman shall not be allowed to conduct any programme on any TV channel till final decision of the instant writ petition”. The said order was later vacated by the Supreme Court (SC).
While hearing the matter, IHC judge observed that “ridiculing judiciary is tantamount to violation of the Constitution and no compromise could be made on prestige of the judicial institutions”. IHC judge further remarked that the judiciary was being criticised without any reason; if anyone had an objection or complaint against a judge, he could file the matter before Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). If a television channel aired a ‘Qawwali,’ five other channels also did the same. Justice Siddiqui remarked that there was a censor board for the films but no censor board for the television dramas and advertisements. In advertisements, there was much being aired for the sale of different items.
During last hearing, IHC bench had noted in its order “Let secretary ministry of information, Islamabad and Pemra chairman be directed to appear in person to explain as to whether there is any code of conduct for electronic media and anchorpersons who found ridiculing the institutions of country like judiciary, Army and other sensitive institutions and how many complaints have been filed against such persons and TV channels and what action has been taken so far.”
In compliance with the court orders, Pemra chairman and secretary ministry of information was there in the court today.
SEPT petitioner while nominating federation through secretary ministry of information, secretary ministry of interior, Pemra chairman, Ammad Khalid of Geo TV Channel, and Anchor ARY TV Channel Mubasher Luqman as respondents has contended before the court that some anchors particularly Mubasher Luqman are conducting such programmes which are prejudicial to the integrity, honour, respect and independence of the superior judiciary.
The petitioner contended that the Pemra had taken no substantial steps to implement a previous court order and Mubasher Luqman on the ARY TV channel was continuing extending the campaign against former chief justice (R) Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and judges of Supreme Court particularly Justice Jawwad S Khawaja in a clandestine manner.IHC bench after issuing the above order put off hearing in this matter till July 9.