Media comes under attack in SC
ISLAMABAD: The media on Monday came under attack in the Supreme Court during the hearing of a petition about the August 15 standoff in the capital city.
When the three-member bench took up the petition filed by Tariq Asad, the petitioner accused the media of becoming a mafia.
But Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed promptly asked the petitioner not to equate the media with a mafia.
Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, however, observed that the choice of words by the petitioner may not be appropriate and that the role of the media should be responsive.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, ordered the Islamabad district magistrate to appear before the court on Friday with para-wise comments on the petition.
The court observed that the judicial magistrate should have played an important role by controlling the situation in an effective manner.
“Prime facie it seems that not only the respondents in the petition but also the judicial magistrate failed to find out a solution to the episode that continued for four to five hours,” the court observed.
Notices were also issued to other respondents namely the federal government through the secretary interior ministry, Inspector General of Police Sikander Hayat, Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Chaudhry Rashid and Chief Commissioner Islamabad Jawwad Paul.
Tariq Asad prayed the court to order controlling the media to act in a responsible way within their code of conduct and appoint a commission of a reputed retired military officer to probe and find out the conspiracy behind the incident.
He also pleaded that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan should be asked to resign after accepting his failure for the operation that went too long.
When his attention was drawn towards the fact that the government had already appointed a commission to investigate the incident, Mr Asad insisted for an order by the court for setting up of the commission since no impartial conclusion could be expected from the government-appointed commission.
The court tried to calculate in terms of the opportunity cost that was lost because of the standoff shown on the television by engaging a large viewership glued to their television sets for hours.
According to the estimation by the court, an amount of Rs300 million was lost because no work was done by the citizens during the period the entire episode was telecast live on televisions.
Mr Asad alleged that the chairman Pemra had failed to perform his legal obligation to restrain the television channels from telecasting the scene live.
He also alleged that the television channels as well as the print media openly violated the law of the land and exceeded their right to freedom of speech and expression.
But Pemra acted as a silent spectator by taking no action against them.
Similarly, the IGP failed to remove the public from the place, he added.
The petitioner alleged that allowing Zamarud Khan to meet the gunman was in violation of the norms of security as his inexperience to tackle such an unpredictable situation could cause several casualties.