Pakistan:  Court orders media regulator to stop airing of ‘anti-judiciary’ speeches

Pakistan:  Court orders media regulator to stop airing of ‘anti-judiciary’ speeches

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on August 24, ordered the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to prevent the broadcasting and publishing of ‘anti-judiciary’ speeches of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and other leaders of his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party.

LHC Justice Mamnoon Rasheed Sheikh, hearing a contempt of court petition issued notices to Pemra Chairman Absar Alam and to the regulatory authority’s Council of Complaints (CoC) asking them to file a report regarding what the petitioner termed ‘anti-judiciary speeches’ made recently by the ousted premier and other PML-N parliamentarians.  The judge ordered Pemra to file the report on the next hearing, scheduled for September 12.

The contempt of court petition was filed by Amina  Malik earlier this month against the former premier and 13 federal and provincial ministers of the ruling PML-N for their criticism against the Supreme Court following Nawaz’s disqualification by the court.  The petitioner had asked the court to direct Pemra to stop “airing and telecasting the contemptuous, derogatory and defamatory speeches” allegedly made by Nawaz and PML-N ministers.

During Thursday’s hearing, Malik’s counsel Advocate Azhar Siddique argued that members of the parliament had made statements against the judiciary following the apex court’s verdict, maintaining that the statements were in contempt of court.

After hearing the petitioner’s arguments in chambers, the judge ordered Pemra to ensure, while operating within the law, that no “anti-judiciary statements” made by Nawaz, his brother Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Minister for Railways Saad Rafique, and 16 other members of parliament are aired on media.