Plea against talk shows on Panama case dismissed

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking directions to restrain private TV channels from telecasting talk shows on Panama case. Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza held that under the democratic norms the ban could not be imposed on the important issue merely because it was causing mental agony to a citizen.

The judge also held that the petitioner failed to identify any law under which ban could be imposed.  Earlier on July 24, the judge after hearing preliminary arguments of the petitioner, had reserved the decision on maintainability of this petition.

A local lawyer, Amjad Farooq Bismil, moved the petition through counsel AK Dogar. The counsel argued that as per Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) rules no one was allowed to hold programmes and debate on the matters pending before a court of law. He submitted that section 20 clause (n) of this Ordinance says, “Not broadcast any programme or discussion on a matter which is sub judice.

He asserted that it was a universally accepted principle that when a case was pending in court whether subordinate or superior the matter was said to be sub judice. He submitted that in Pakistan, news anchors daily act like judges and the participants of their programmes argued like counsels of parties and even the remarks made by judges were subjected to criticism during the television programmes. He requested to issue directions to Pemra to enforce its law and stop all television channels from holding programmes on sub judice matters.

The News