Top 10 journalists serve defamation notice on ARY CEO, others -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Top 10 journalists serve defamation notice on ARY CEO, others

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: Senior journalists and anchorpersons have served a defamation notice to the tune of Rs1.1 billion upon Salman Iqbal, chief executive officer ARY, infamous anchor Mubasher Lucman and Sabir Shakir for hurling malicious, frivolous and baseless allegations upon them.

Babar Sattar, senior advocate who himself has been baselessly accused of obtaining monetary favours from the government by ARY, has sent the defamation notice under Section 8 of the Defamation Ordinance, 2002 on behalf of ten senior journalists and anchorpersons and himself included.

The journalists and anchorpersons include Talat Hussain, Hamid Mir, Ansar Abbasi, Saleem Safi, Ejaz Haider, Naseem Zehra, Meher Abbas, Rana Jawwad, Absaar Alam, and Javed Chaudhry.

The notice says that ARY, Salman Iqbal, Lucman and Sabir Shakir are given notice under Section 8 of the Defamation Ordinance, 2002, to bring an action for damages on account of defamation, unless each of the mentioned accused pay a sum of Rs100,000,000 (Rupees One Hundred Million Only) to each of the journalists and anchorpersons, withdraw the defamatory statements publicly and communicate to the journalists and anchorpersons an unqualified apology within three days from the receipt of this notice. “You are hereby given notice that if you fail to comply with this notice, legal proceedings for recovery of damages, at your risk and cost, for defamation shall be instituted against you in the court of law”, the notice reads.

The notice has mentioned that on 21.08.2014, Lucman and Sabir Shakir appeared in a TV show titled “Khara Sach” aired on ARY News and alleged that the Prime Minister House had made disbursements of funds to various journalists and anchorpersons two days prior to the date of the programme. It was further alleged insinuated that various journalists and anchorpersons had also gone to meet with the prime minister on the date of the programme. Subsequently, on 22.08.14, Lucman and Shakir appeared on ‘Khara Sach’ where they broke the news that a list of journalists and anchorpersons had emerged who had received money, from the Nawaz Sharif government and their job objective was to “diffuse the political situation.”

The notice reads that finally, two posts were shared on the Facebook page of “Khara Sach with Lukman” on 28.08.2014 and 29.08.2014 linking the earlier breaking news with a list of twenty journalists, including the abovementioned journalists and anchorpersons, who were allegedly given the task by the Nawaz Sharif government of creating “a favorable media response towards the current political situation” in lieu of payment of illegal funds that they dishonestly accepted.

The defamatory statements were broadcast to the entire country through national television and electronic media and are now available on the Internet and being published through social media for everyone to see and further distribute. The defamatory statements are fabricated and are malicious accusations against the journalists and anchorpersons that are utterly false and devoid of any substance whatsoever.

The contents of the defamatory statements made by Lucman and Sabir Shakir on ‘Khara Sach’ aired on ARY, as well as the posts shared on the Facebook page of Lucman’s show, are baseless, reek of spite and their utterance and broadcast is a deliberate effort on your part to defame the journalists and anchorpersons, lower them in the estimation of right thinking people in the society and bring them into disrepute.

The allegations against journalists and anchorpersons in the defamatory statements were nothing but a malicious rumour levelled with the sole object of exposing journalists and anchors to hatred, contempt and ridicule, impeach their professional conduct, credibility and integrity and blemish their image in the country.

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