SC issues notices to channel CEO, anchor in contempt case
Anchor termed respectable people infidel, traitor and perpetrator of acts of blasphemy; these baseless charges were repeated several times
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Tuesday issued notices to the chief executive officer, the producer and the anchor with the direction to submit their replies by April 18 in a contempt petition filed by the Independent Media Group (Jang Group).
The court adjourned the hearing until April 18 after accepting the plea of Anwar Mansoor Khan, counsel for the defendant channel, seeking general adjournment due to illness.
The legal team representing the Independent Media Group led by Jam Asif advocate and comprising Faisal Iqbal Khan contended that the respondents had violated the order of the apex court as well as their own affidavit and code of conducts of journalists and laws of Pakistan Electronic Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and were therefore liable to be proceeded against for contempt of court.
After a few moments, Anchor Dr Aamir Liaquat Hussain came to the rostrum and told the court that his flight had got late.
The court admonished him asking as to who had called him to the rostrum. The court told him that no one could come to the rostrum after the case has been adjourned.
The anchor however said a contempt petition had been filed against him to which the court told him that notices had been issued and directed him to file his reply in ten days.
The anchor told the court that he daily submitted his programme to the apex court in a USB. The court however told him that it did not have sufficient time to go through the programme CDs, adding that it would be watched during the course of hearing to examine whether or not he had committed contempt of court.
When he drew the attention of the court towards the recent Pemra order asking him to tender an apology, the chief justice said if he had any objection to the order of Authority, he could approach an appropriate forum.
The court observed that it would announce the decision to the extent of violation of its order passed on March 6 regarding contempt matter. It is pertinent to mention here that the Pemra the other day ordered the said anchor to apologize for indulging in hate speech during the January 27 transmission of his program.
The regulatory authority has also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on the news channel and it has to be paid within 15 days after the issuance of Pemra’s decision. In its notification issued on Monday, the Pemra ordered the anchor and the channel to ‘apologize unconditionally to the viewers for airing the hate-speech.’
The apology has to be issued during the transmission of the programme on or before March 31. This latest decision by the Pemra requires that the text of the apology should be displayed on screen while the apology is being spoken out.
The notice further requires the channel to submit an affidavit by March 31 as an assurance to Pemra that no hate speech would be aired in future.
According to the notice, in case of non-compliance the ban on both the host and the programme will again come into effect from April 1.
It is pertinent to recall that the anchor has named respectable people, showed their pictures and termed them infidel, traitor and perpetrator of acts of blasphemy. The anchor repeated these baseless charges several times.