PEMRA’s notification on court reporting challenged in LHC

Petitioner argues PEMRA's action constitutes violation of public's right to information

Rana Yasif May 23, 2024


A petition filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday urged the nullification of a notification issued by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) restricting the media from broadcasting tickers and headlines of court proceedings. 

The notification further stated that only written orders of the court are to be reported upon. 

The petitioner, Samra Malik, argued that the corrigendum by PEMRA constitutes a violation of the public's right to information.

She further claimed that the action directly contravenes Section 19-A of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan and Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that allows "everyone's right to freedom of opinion and expression", including rights to seek, receive, and impart information through any media.

Read LHC directs PEMRA to ensure freedom of speech

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which is binding on over 150 countries, also mandates the protection of free expression, the petitioner added.

The petitioner further stated that the International Criminal Court (ICC) permits the broadcasting of proceedings to ensure transparency and public access to justice, while also implementing measures to safeguard the identities of vulnerable witnesses. Moreover, the Supreme Court of Canada has allowed live television broadcasts of hearings since 1990.

“PEMRA lacks the authority to issue such an order that stands against the democratic norms and violation of basic fundamental rights. The Islamic courts historically conducted proceedings in a public manner ensuring that the justice was not only done but also seen to be done," said the petition. 


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