SC moved against TV channels’ muzzling
ISLAMABAD – Dr Shahid Masood, a journalist, Thursday filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the closure of transmission of some private TV channels.
The petition has been filed under the Article 184 (3) of the Constitution with respect to the enforcement of fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Article 184 (3) affects the members of the electronic media, print media and the journalists’ community in particular and the public at large in general.
According to the petition, some cable operators in different areas of Pakistan closed transmission of a few private TV channels and it was done by the Government in retaliation to airing an untoward incident which took place on 7th August 2010 in Community Centre, Birmingham, where President Asif Ali Zardari was addressing Pakistani community.
Dr Masood in his application filed through Advocate Akram Sheikh made the Federation of Pakistan respondents through Secretary Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Secretary Ministry of Interior, Secretary Ministry of Law & Justice, Chairman Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), All Pakistan Cable Networks Association, Islamabad, and the Governments of all four provinces.
In his application Dr Masood held, “It raises questions of extreme public importance in respect of enforcement of fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution inter alia the freedom of speech and expression of Press under Article 19.” The petitioner is a working journalist who is engaged in the promotion of democratic culture in Pakistan and upholding of fundamental rights including freedom of media and Press as well as the protection of rights of journalists throughout Pakistan, besides his known crusades for independence of judiciary and against corruption, says the petition.
The petition further says that media is legally and morally bound to highlight the problems faced by the people as well as offering solutions to these problems. Media contributes towards raising awareness of the society considering it as a national duty. In a democratic country like Pakistan, the media has the right to broadcast all that is in public interest, it was held. The fourth pillar of the state i.e. media has to ensure stability of the state structure. Therefore, weakening of the media can only have its snowball impact of impairing and damaging other pillars of the state, the petitioner held.
Source: The Nation