Jang group made bid to discredit court, JIT: SC
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal, on Tuesday took up the contempt of court case against Jang Group for publishing ‘incorrect news’. During the proceedings, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed inquired about the presence of the respondents.
Advocate Chaudhry Arshad Ali, on behalf of the respondents, replied that all the three defendants were present in the courtroom and had submitted their replies, adding that they would submit additional information if required.
Justice Saeed said the bench has viewed the reply and will take it up at the next hearing.
When the court adjourned the hearing till August 22, printer/publisher of Jang Group Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman came to the rostrum and said he wanted to say something about his group.
Mir Shakil said that according to the court’s information the news was published on some one’s directives. “The court had ordered to present the details of advertisements, which caused us a lot of pain,” he added.
He said, “The court summoned advertisements given by only three governments, whereas the government of Imran Khan in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had given us most of the advertisements.”
Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked that the issue is that wrong reporting had been done deliberately, wrong news and wrong court orders were published.
Justice Saeed said the aim of publishing incorrect news was to create confusion among the public; deliberately spread rumours; and an attempt was made to discredit the court and the JIT.
The judge said, “Mir Shakil Sahib, we are saying to argue through your lawyer.”
Justice Hassan said, “We are not arguing with you.”
Mir Shakil said, “The whole staff of our newspaper says that our stories are correct.”
Justice Hassan said that we have seen stories that are incorrect and present a wrong image of the court.
Mir Shakil said, “Tell me which stories are wrong so that I can rebuke my staff.”
Justice Saeed said, “You published the JIT report before it made it to the court, which bounced completely … don’t compel us to say everything.”
He said, “You published a wrong report about the Lahore High Court and were apologising the whole day.”
Justice Hassan said, “You have accepted one incorrect story; you will accept many more … whatever you want to say write it in your answer.”
Mir Shakil said the court should take notice of the news about ISI and Whatsapp. You have taken notice of one story, take notice of the others also.
Justice Hassan said, “Don’t worry when we will talk, it will be about all the news stories.”
Justice Saeed said, “Now we have taken notice. We will see the situation. We are silent on the ups and downs because freedom of journalism is welcomed. We tolerate criticism because we do not want to silence journalism. We tolerate fair criticism, but undue criticism is not tolerated.”
Justice Saeed told Mir Shakil, “When limits are crossed we call you to complain, but it is a request that don’t talk without a lawyer.”
Justice Aijaz Afzal Khan said, “We don’t want to create a situation where action has a reaction, but irresponsible reporting is going on in your organisation and it is possible that you could be an upright person.”
Mir Shakil replied, “All of our stories have proven to be right, except for one story.” Many other newspapers also published the same story, then why action only against us?
Justice Saeed said, “It is a matter of the court, let it remain in it.”
Mir Shakil said, “The remarks you give are not included in the order.”
Justice Saeed replied, “If you say we will add today’s remarks in the order, but don’t submit an application later on to expunge the remarks.”
Justice Hassan said, “Freedom of journalism is welcomed, but we won’t give permission throw dirt on others.”
Speaking to the media outside the apex court, Mir Shakil said, “Imran Khan has levelled allegations and not submitted any proof.”
“We had served a notice on him and a committee has been formed. I had told Imran Khan to come to the committee, but till date no conference of the committee has been held,” he added.
He said the lawyer for ARY had accepted the mistake and ARY was punished. “If Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan levels allegations then kindly provide proof also,” he said.
He said, “Pain is caused to the person against whom the story is published.”
“Our legal team has said that all the stories are correct except for one,” he said.
“The story about Whatsapp call is correct. If it were wrong then why hasn’t any action been taken?
On that day every newspaper had only one headline,” he stated.
About the advertisements, he said, “I have informed the hounourable judges that the government gives advertisements to only big organisations.”
The government is not fair with us as it gives us advertisements on lesser rates.
He said the media gives great importance to judges’ remarks, which is not right. Those remarks that are not included in the court’s decisions, their importance is zero and we should accept that the media has been making mistakes.
He admitted that Jang/Geo was involved in these mistakes.
He said if our story is proven incorrect, then we will apologize to the court.