It's media trial: TV talk shows can't discuss sub judice matters, says SC -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

It’s media trial: TV talk shows can’t discuss sub judice matters, says SC

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday issued a show-cause notice to ARY News anchor Arshad Sharif for discussing a sub-judice matter in his talk show regarding an affidavit, the other day submitted by former president Asif Ali Zardari pertaining to his assets in NRO case.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had taken a suo motu notice regarding the said programme wherein the affidavit of Asif Ali Zardari was discussed.

During the show it was questioned as to whether Asif Ali Zardari submitted a false affidavit in National Reconciliation Ordinance case (NRO).

On Wednesday, a three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar resumed the hearing into the matter and issued show cause notice to the channel host besides directing the Pakistan Electronic Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to submit video clip of the said programme.

The court also issued notices to Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), Pemra as well as Attorney General. During the hearing, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry and anchorperson appeared before the court. The chief justice asked the anchorperson as to how he could discuss in his show cases which are pending before the court.

The chief justice further asked that despite the fact that two of his guests he had invited to the show were reluctant to discuss the sub judice matter but he kept on forcing them to comment.

The chief justice further said that the court had already advised the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against inadvertently or intentionally defaming individuals who are subject to accountability inquiries.

The chief justice while addressing the anchorperson said that comments made in his show are prejudicial to court proceedings, adding that strict action could be taken against him.

“You have nothing to do with the court’s matter”, the CJP asked the anchor questioning as to whether he is a judge or a court of law. Justive Saqib said that they cannot discuss sub judice matter in the TV talk shows.

The chief justice observed that such comments in TV programmes could influence the court proceedings, warning that action could be taken against him. The chief justice said that they issued notices to Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and all media houses asking them to inform the court as to what the code of conduct for media is.

Justice Umer Ata Bandial, another member of the bench, observed that that the said programme is tantamount to interfere in the court’s proceedings.

The chief justice while addressing the host recalled that earlier they had summoned another anchor and banned his progarmme and consequently his programme would also be banned.

Justice Ijazul Ahsen observed that this is straightforward case of media trial. The host replied that an affidavit had been submitted before the court the other day in which he conducted a programme.

At this, chief justice asked him as to whether he knew what an affidavit was adding that a case is pending before the court against a leader of a party while he was conducting a programme against him.

“Whether your programme was sponsored and whose direction you conducted it”, Chief justice asked him. The anchor however, replied that it was a top and important story of that day that’s why he conducted the programme on it, denying on anyone’s direction.

Meanwhile, the court issued show cause notice to the host besides directing Pemra for submitting clips of the said programme. The court also issued notices to Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and Attorney General for Pakistan and adjourned further hearing until September 12.

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