HCs issue notices on TV reporting curbs plea

CJ Aamer calls for responses from PEMRA, information secretary by May 28

​ Our Correspondents May 25, 2024
Islamabad High Court (IHC). PHOTO: Express/File


The Islamabad High Court (IHC) and the Lahore High Court (LHC) have separately addressed challenges to a Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) notification that imposes restrictions on court reporting. On Friday, both courts issued notices to relevant parties concerning these challenges.

At the LHC, Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh considered the petition submitted by Samara Malik. The court issued notices to relevant parties, including the attorney general, for a hearing on May 29. However, the judge declined to issue a stay order against the May 19 notification.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard related petitions and called for responses from Pemra and the information secretary by May 28. These petitions were filed by the IHC Journalists Association and the Press Association of the Supreme Court.

In his written order, Chief Justice Farooq noted that the petitioners' counsel argued the Pemra notification, which bans the reporting of court proceedings on TV channels, violates Articles 19 and 19A of the Constitution.

Justice Sheikh of the LHC, in his six-page written order, recorded that Pemra's counsel informed the court that the IHC had already issued notices on the matter.

The judge remarked that with the case pending in the IHC, it should not be heard simultaneously in the LHC. He acknowledged that the petition raised important legal questions.

The Pemra notification, which restricts media from broadcasting tickers and headlines of court proceedings, was challenged in court on Thursday. Samara Malik filed one petition in the LHC, while another was filed on behalf of the IHC Journalists Association and the Press Association of the Supreme Court.

Malik's petition in the LHC argued that the notification violates the public’s right to information and contravenes Section 19-A and Article 19 of the Constitution.

She asserted that Pemra lacks the authority to issue such an order.

In the IHC, the petition, filed through Barrister Umar Ejaz Gilani and Riyasat Ali Azad, echoed similar arguments. It stated that the notification misinterprets a Supreme Court judgment and infringes on the constitutional rights outlined in Articles 19 and 19A.

Both courts are now set to further deliberate on these issues in their upcoming sessions


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