ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the full court agreed to take action under the contempt of court law on Friday against those responsible behind a ‘planted’ TV show aired on Dunya TV on Wednesday.
The meeting, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, also reviewed on-air and off-air footage of the show submitted by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra).
A video had been uploaded on the video sharing social networking site YouTube on Thursday which had sent shockwaves throughout the media world. It showed an interview of business tycoon Malik Riaz jointly conducted by Dunya TV anchorpersons Meher Bokhari and Mubashir Lucman appeared to be completely scripted.
The anchors not only told their guest the questions beforehand, but also discussed the answers to those questions, at times even suggesting appropriate answers.
The chief justice had summoned all the judges of all registries to attend the 3pm meeting on Friday to discuss progress on rules of working committee, registration of advocates of record and fixation of cases.
However, outside the meeting it was widely believed that the meeting was being held in context of the Dr Arsalan Iftikhar financial misappropriations case and allegations monies had been exchanged to influence court cases against Riaz pending before the courts. But during the meeting, the chief justice took notice of the TV show and summoned its footage and script.
The on-air and off-air clips submitted by Pemra were viewed inside the courtroom in the presence of Pemra chairman.
The chief justice asked the Pemra chairman as to what they could do in order to stop such contemptuous programmes. The Pemra chairman replied that if the court takes a decision, then Pemra can initiate proceedings according to the law.
After the videos were reviewed, the Supreme Court registrar read out a note which stated that the anchors questioned Riaz according to the latter’s wish and the instructions passed on by the channel administration can also be seen in the leaked video.
The full court session also ordered the Pemra chairman to submit a comprehensive report on the issue.
The Supreme Court also constituted a two-member bench to investigate the matter.
Riaz was given questions and pre-prepared answers before the show began and Abdul Qadir Gilani’s call during the show also indicated that the show was planted, added the registrar.
According to the note, a conspiracy to defame the judiciary was being hatched in the show, and an attempt to make a mockery of the judiciary and the judges was also observed in the leaked video.
The video, titled ‘Malik Riaz Planted Interview with Mehar Bukhari and Mubashir Lukman on Dunya’ had been uploaded by a user named ‘ivestigativereporter’, showed the supposed off-air conversations between the hosts and the real estate tycoon during a two-hour exclusive show.