Contempt notice issued to private TV channel
ISLAMABAD, May 9: The Supreme Court on Friday issued a contempt of court notice to Geo television news channel for reporting that a meeting took place between Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar and Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah in which two senior judges of the apex court were also present.
“Telecasting/publication of such baseless news which tends to exploit the court and scandalise the judges is utter violation of Article 19 of the Constitution which provides guarantee of freedom of speech and press and may constitute contempt of court,” a five-page order of the Supreme Court said.
A show-cause note issued by the court asked the Islamabad bureau chief of the Geo channel, Absar Alam, to appear in person and explain the basis on which the news item was broadcast and what was the source of information.
Another note asked the editor, publisher and reporter of Daily Jang, which also carried the channel’s report, to submit their reply about scandalising the court and its judges.
Geo TV broadcast the report on Thursday and kept flashing it as ‘breaking news’ that the interior secretary had conveyed a special message to the chief justice during the meeting in which two senior judges – Justice Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi and Justice Faqir Mohammad Khokhar – were present.
The newspaper carried the news on Friday and the apex court made it part of its record.
Senior lawyers Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada and Waseem Sajjad were asked to assist the court in the matter on May 12.
Authored by Justice Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi, the order also directed the print and electronic media that in future no television channel or newspaper would publish any news item in respect of the person of a judge in any capacity or publish his photograph in the newspaper or display on TV, without proper verification and permission of the Supreme Court registrar. The press and the electronic media will also not publish or broadcast any news regarding the orders of the court without the verification of the correctness and contents of the orders from the public relations officer of the apex court.
Meanwhile, the interior ministry also issued a statement and declared the news item as incorrect, false and exaggerated aimed at maligning the ministry and judges of the Supreme Court.
“The fact of the matter is that the secretary interior was called by Justice Faqir Mohammad Khokar to the Supreme Court to discuss the matter of Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails, the issue of arrest and detention of inadvertent border crossers and mentally sick foreigners detained under Foreigners Act,” the statement said.