Petition seeking probe into media scandal disposed off
LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Monday disposed of a petition as withdrawn, seeking directions for inquiry against those who were involved in the media scandal disclosed by real estate tycoon Malik Riaz.
The chief justice appreciated the role of the media in creating awareness among the people and observed that 99 percent journalists were performing their duties honestly and sincerely and only one percent black sheep were there. He further observed that the media had rendered a lot of sacrifices to keep its independence intact.
He also observed that independence of the media was necessary for democratic institutions and supremacy of law. The chief justice remarked that the media should introduce standard operating procedures (SOPs) to make things transparent and impartial.
About the petition, the chief justice observed that a two-member Supreme Court committee had taken up the issue; therefore, it would be appropriate to wait for its decision. After the court’s observations, the counsel for Electronic Media Reporters Association (EMRA) sought permission to withdraw the petition.
EMRA President Muhammad Tanvir Shahzada had moved the petition against the federal and the Punjab governments as well as Malik Riaz.
Petitioner’s counsel Muhammad Azhar Siddique stated that a list of anchors was available in a section of the press who were allegedly bribed by Malik Riaz.
He stated that whether the information was true or false, the same was an attempt to damage independence and integrity of judiciary.
He further wanted that the government should be directed to have some sort of subordinate legislation not only to prevent such incidents in future, but also to make the media accountable.