ISLAMABAD: Justice Mian Saqib Nisar of Supreme Court Monday said the judiciary also respected the media but it should not be maligned as it was also one of the pillars of the state.
The observation came during the hearing of a suo moto case against the management of a private news channel for airing false and baseless news pertaining to a meeting between Justice Amir Hani Muslim and PML-N Senator Nehal Hashmi.
A two-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Maqbool Baqir, heard the case. The court directed the management of the channel to file an amended apology stating that the said news aired by it was false and fabricated and adjourned the hearing for a week.
On November 19, Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali took suo moto notice of the issue and issued contempt notices to reporters, anchorperson, producer and director news for airing a news item about the alleged meeting between Justice Amir Hani Muslim and PML-N Senator Nehal Hashmi.
On Monday, Barrister Ali Zafar, representing Din News shareholders, Mehmood Sadiq and Ms Uzma Mehmood Sadiq, told the court that his client had filed an unconditional, unqualified, genuine remorse and sincere apology adding that his clients put themselves at the mercy of the court.
The counsel submitted that they felt regret and were ashamed. He informed the court that the management had suspended the entire news team after holding the inquiry and issued them show cause notices. He further told the court that 10 years ago, the channel had made an SOP that there will be no statement aired against Islam, the judiciary and the military.
Ali Zafar said normally the procedure for telecasting news was that first it came to chief news editor, who after examining forwards it to the news editor who sends it to news producer and finally to the newscaster. He however, said in the present case the procedure was bypassed and the news went straight to director news after which it was transmitted.
Justice Mian Saqib Nisar asked the learned counsel if it was the stance of the channel owners that it was a false and fabricated story. Ali, however, did not give a straight reply, but said it was gross negligence and bypassed the routine procedure.
“We are not sacred cows but maligning the conduct of judges was damaging for the institution”, Justice Saqib said, adding that he was surprised when he saw the file of the instant case and thought as to whether the motive and objective of news was to discredit and malign the judiciary.”
Justice Saqib said he had received a letter in his chamber mentioning that a news item was aired in a TV stating that he had good relations with influential people.
“I swear upon Allah that I have no friends. He who comes to us would be treated fairly”, Justice Saqib remarked. He said people say a lot of things about them but they can’t give explanation and issue press releases as well.
“Don’t malign judges, and these kinds of aspersions hurt us.” Without thinking such news is not appropriate”, Justice Saqib told the counsel. During the course of hearing, Azhar Siddique, counsel for Director News Iftikhar Hussain Kazmi and newscasters Suleman and Rabia submitted that the news item was false and fabricated. He sought mercy but Justice Mian Saqib Nisar asked him to seek mercy from God Who does justice.