Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) notices to journalists worst example of censorship: Islamabad High Court (IHC)

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday served notices on Attorney General for Pakistan and other senior lawyers for assistance in case regarding powers of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) under anticyber crime Act.

The court questioned whether section 20 of cyber crime act was contradicting the Articles 14, 19 and 19A of the Constitution. Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing into a petition filed by a journalist Asad Toor who challenged FIA’s notice to him.

The chief justice observed, FIA’s notices are the worst example of censorship. “If the actions are started on criticism, it would not stop anywhere,” he said. The chief justice further observed that the FIA had been taking partial actions, adding that the court had never seen the FIA appeared before the court preparing a case against one from treasury benches.

The court asked the FIA to inform the bench after investigation how many countries in the world had admitted the criticism acts as criminal cases. Whenever the legislatures in several countries of the world tried to declare the criticism as crime the courts dismissed it.

The chief justice observed that no one would speak in the country if the FIA starts serving such notices. The job of journalists and anchors is to criticise, he said, adding that such notices would also stop everything.

Justice Minallah remarked that this court was criticised several times but FIA never made a case on it. The court sought response from FIA and amicus curiae and adjourned the court till after the Eidul Fitr. It may be mentioned here that the court had also appointed senior lawyers Hamid Khan, Abid Hassan Manto and vice chairman Pakistan Bar Council as amicus curiae in the case.

Newspaper: The News

Other Media Reports: The Nation

Tags: FIA