Legal action: Cases related to media dominate top court

Owners of media houses appear before different SC benches

Hasnaat Malik February 08, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday took up matters directly or indirectly linked to media persons and also issued contempt notices. Several broadcasting personalities, including Jang Group CEO Mir Shakilur Rehman, attended the hearing.

A three-judge bench of the top court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, took up a contempt case against Rehman and others over the publishing of ‘false’ news. The bench directed the Jang Group CEO to file a reply by February 14. The case is adjourned till February 21.

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Another three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, summoned Shoaib Sheikh and other accused on February 8 in the Axact fake degrees case. The bench also summoned the registrars of high courts to apprise them of the status of appeals by the FIA against the acquittal of accused persons. The CJP also hinted placing the names of all accused on the Exit Control List.

DG FIA Bashir Memon submitted that accused have been acquitted in two cases and appeals against their acquittal was pending in high courts. He also said that the high court and trial court would be asked to decide cases related to Axact in a month. During the hearing, the CJP warned former Bol TV anchor Amir Liaqat to maintain decorum of the court. The hearing will resume on February 8.

The same bench, while setting aside an Islamabad High Court order in a separate matter, conditionally allowed Liaqat to conduct TV programme. The chief justice said the high court has no authority to take suo motu notice.

Regarding the code of conduct for media-persons, the bench directed all media houses to ensure salaries and pending payments to media workers within 10 days and mention reasons for delay in payments.

The CJP had taken notice on a plea from Tayyab Baloch, the President, Press Association of Supreme Court.

The chief justice remarked that the license of a media house would be cancelled if it was found involved in taking foreign funding.

The bench sought details on the distribution of advertisements and wondered why wage award for journalists was not implemented despite the lapse of 17 years.

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The same bench withdrew contempt notice against former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf for writing a letter to former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

In another contempt case, a three-member bench, headed by Justice Azmad Saeed Sheikh, gave 10 days to PML-N leader Danyal Aziz to engage counsel.

Aziz informed the court that he had come to attend the hearing after receiving a notice from the court. He, however, said the notice did not mention why he was summoned. The court gave Aziz 10 days to hire the services of a lawyer.

The bench also issued notices to the attorney general for Pakistan before adjourning the hearing till Feb 19. The CJP issued contempt notice to Aziz for his anti-judiciary comments during TV talk-shows.