Throw out ‘pro-dictator’ elements, PHC CJ to journalists
* Justice Dost Muhammad urges media owners to solve journalists’ problems
* Says no institution can hinder judiciary’s legal, constitutional work
PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan on Thursday urged journalists to expel the “pro-dictators” elements from their community.
He said the journalists should get those who were dancing to the dictators’ tune out of their community. No force could stop the judiciary from doing its legal and constitutional work, he added.
The PHC chief justice was addressing a seminar organised jointly by the Pakistan Press Council and Peshawar High Court Bar. He called upon journalists to improve reporting standard and urged media owners to solve problems of journalists working in their organisations.
The chief justice said that no institution could prevent judiciary from fulfilling its responsibilities and judges would continue to provide speedy and inexpensive justice to litigants. He made it clear that independent judiciary came into existence as result of sacrifices offered by civil society, lawyers and the media.
The chief justice said no one was above the law, adding that inexpensive and speedy justice to litigants was one of the major responsibilities of the judiciary and no compromise would be made on the supremacy of constitution and rule of law.
He said the constitution provided freedom of expression and speech to the people and great responsibilities were laid on the shoulders of journalists to disseminate information based on accuracy, credibility, truth, facts and impartiality.
The chief justice said no one could ignore the importance of media in this age of fast communication, adding that people were politically mature and could judge difference between accurate news and stories based on assumptions.
He said credibility should be the hallmark of a news reporter, adding that working journalists were the backbone of media organisations as they were the ones who reported news stories and events from the spots of their occurrence.
The chief justice said wrong reporting damaged prestige and reputation of the courts and sensationalism needed to be avoided.
Speaking in detail about the responsibilities of media owners, he urged them to introduce life insurance schemes for journalists working in high-risk areas so that they could perform their professional duties with more dedication and commitment without any fear.
He also urged the government to contribute to life insurance schemes for journalists so that they and their families could live a prosperous and dignified life.
Prolonged dictatorships had damaged democracy and media, and journalists had made great struggle for freedom of press, the chief justice said.
He suggested setting up of a supervisory or surveillance board to oversee the performance of editors and editors-in-chief of newspapers or TV channels to make news articles and programmes more comprehensive, credible and authentic to guide the nation towards right direction. There was no harm in forming a code of conduct for the media, he said.