ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Saturday restrained media outlets from covering terrorism related incidents in such a manner which would glorify the terrorists.
In its order on the Balochistan security case, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry justified the decision, writing that material supplied by Senator SM Zafar suggested that whenever there was an incident involving murder of innocent people, civilians or otherwise, newspapers blamed different ‘organisations’. This, the chief justice noted, increased a sense of insecurity among the people of Balochistan.
Recent statements by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) following thier attack on Malala Yousufzai, received widespread coverage in electronic and print media.
The 14-year-old student activist from Swat alongwith other students was shot at by TTP men, when they were on their way from school on October 9.
Another statement by the TTP where it justified its barbaric act citing some Islamic precedent, also got considerable coverage by the media. Their justification was subsequently rejected by the Ulema and clerics across the country.
The CJ, heading a three-judge bench, noted in the order that the provision of 11-W of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 should be followed strictly by the electronic and print media in the future.
The court also incorporated the provision in its judgment noting: “Printing, publishing, or disseminating any material to incite hatred or giving projection to any person convicted for a terrorist act or any proscribed organisation or an organisation placed under observation or anyone concerned in terrorism. (1) A person commits an offence if he prints, publishes or disseminates any material, whether by audio or video-cassettes [FM radio station] or by written, photographic, electronic, digital, wall-chalking or any the method which [glorifies terrorists or terrorist activities] incites religious, sectarian or ethnic hatred or gives projection to any person convicted for a terrorist act, or any person or organisation concerned in terrorism or proscribed organisation or an organisation placed under observation: Provided that a factual news report, made in good faith, shall not be construed to mean ‘projection’ for the purposes of this section.
“We are told that in this behalf restraint order has also been passed by the High Court of Balochistan, therefore, we confirm the order which has been passed by the High Court of Balochistan that in future the above provision of law shall be followed strictly both by the electronic and print media,” the judgement further read.