ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court on Tuesday issued contempt notices to ARY News anchor Mubashir Lucman and ARY CEO Salman Iqbal for airing programmes in the month of May which had maligned the judiciary.
This is the first contempt notice that the top court has issued since the retirement of former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
While contempt proceedings against judges, lawyers, parliamentarians and media persons were on the rise during Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s tenure, the court under Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk has neither issued contempt notices nor resumed proceedings on previous ones.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan on June 4 had directed the SC office to provide transcripts of the programme aired by ARY TV on May 22 and May 26, 2014, that contained language critical of the judiciary.
The bench had also watched video clips of private TV programmes that made negative references to Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, who was hearing different petitions filed by GEO television network about the interruption of its transmission in different areas of the country.
On Tuesday, when the bench took up the case again after a break of three months, the court issued show cause notices to Lucman and Iqbal under section 5 of Contempt Ordinance 2003.
The apex court also sought an explanation from the government for the delay in the appointment of a permanent PEMRA chairperson.
Deputy Attorney General Khawaja Ahmad Hussain informed the court that the prime minister has formed a committee for finalising the code of conduct for print and electronic media.
The bench, however, expressed dissatisfaction over PEMRA’s performance and asked why the body is not taking action against TV channels that run contemptuous programmes.
Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry added that the government is facing a difficult time due to PEMRA’s ineffectiveness.
Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry also asked whether the court should summon the PM over the PEMRA situation.
The hearing of the case was adjourned until September 15.
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