SHC notice on PHPL ad ban petition
KARACHI, November 11 2005: The Sindh High Court on Thursday November 10 asked the provincial government to file, within two weeks, its comments on a writ petition against the withholding of Sindh government advertising from Dawn since June 2005.
The petition has been moved by the Pakistan Herald Publications Ltd, owners of Dawn, and its chief executive, Mr Hameed Haroon, through Advocate Muneer Malik.
It was taken up by a division bench comprising Justices Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Yasmin Abbasey. November 20 was fixed as the next date of hearing.
The petition, according to a PHPL press release, alleges that as some senior officials and politicians in the Sindh government are displeased with Dawn’s independent policy, its non-alignment with any political party within or outside Pakistan, its impartial reporting without fear or favour from any quarter and its unbiased analysis, they have proceeded to deprive the newspaper of advertising.
The petition states that a constant practice has evolved over the years under which advertisements of government departments are distributed among newspapers on the basis of their circulation, the language in which they are published, readership, area of dissemination, target audience, etc., and the political philosophy or views of a newspaper were not germane to the release or withholding of government advertising.
The petition claims that by stopping advertising to Dawn, the Sindh government is attempting to muzzle the voice of an unbiased and independent newspaper. It prays that the act of withholding/stopping advertisements by the government and the departments and organizations under its control be declared ‘mala fide’ and in contravention of Articles 19 and 25 of the Constitution, which guarantee freedom of expression and equality before the law.