LAHORE: Human rights activist and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir has said she supports freedom of expression and the independence of the media, and punishing any TV channel is not an act of any pillar of the state but of dictators.
Addressing a lawyers gathering at the Aiwan-e-Iqbal here on Thursday, Asma said whatever Geo did was not fair. No journalistic ethics permit putting the picture (of any official) on the TV screen for hours over mere allegations, she said, adding that there was nothing new in this, however, as “Geo as well as all other TV channels have done it to us all in the past”.
“You may fine it (Geo) for the mistake, you may force them to apologise”, but what is this attitude, she asked. “You say no pardon, you say you will bring this organisation to its knees, once, twice, thrice, and there seems to be no end to it,” she added. She said if the army rulers believe they can strangle the freedom of expression in this country, they are mistaken.
Asma said when the judiciary indulges in politics instead of providing justice, we criticise it. “We did it earlier, and we do it even today,” she added.
Asma regretted that the media have started dictating even to lawyers. “They say a lawyer must ask them (the media) before taking up any case. If they will permit, you take up a case, and if they don’t want you to, you don’t go for it,” the lawyer leader said.
Asma said the government claims that their heart bleeds at the misuse of public money. “If it is public money then why have you provided six employees at government expense to the former CJ, whose son is still staying in the guest house,” the rights activist asked. She also questioned the appointment of Faqeer Hussain as the director general of the Federal Judicial Academy after his retirement as the Supreme Court registrar, and termed it in violation of merit.