Journalists’ bodies reject Pemra notification on covering courts

Sohail Khan
Thursday, May 23, 2024

ISLAMABAD: The Press Association of Supreme Court (PAS) and Islamabad High Court Journalists Association (IHCJA) on Wednesday rejected the notification of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) prohibiting TV channels for airing tickers/headlines with regard to court proceedings.

Both the journalists bodies, covering proceedings of Supreme Court (SC) and high courts, demanded the regulator authority to withdraw its notification for being violation of articles 19 and 19-A of the Constitution.

Meeting of PAS and IHCJA was held here jointly chaired by President PAS Aqeel Afzal. The meeting reviewed the notification issued by Pemra, issued on May 21 and termed the notification as against the freedom of press and independence of judiciary, declaring that the regulatory does not have the authority to prohibit reporting of court’s proceedings.

The meeting resolved that the articles 19 and 19-A of the Constitution guarantee freedom of expression and public rights to have access to information hence the regulatory notification issued on May 21 is totally against these provisions of the Constitution. Both the journalists’ bodies demanded of the regulatory authority to immediately withdraw its notification and upon failure it would be challenged in the court of law.

It is pertinent to mention here that Pemra the other day issued a notification whereby all satellite TV channel licenses in the genre of “News and Current Affairs” and “Regional Language” were directed that no content, including commentary, opinions or suggestions about the potential fate of such sub-judice matter which tends to prejudice the determination by a court, tribunal, etc, shall be aired.

Further, TV channels were directed to refrain from airing tickers/headlines with regard to court proceedings and shall only report the written orders of court. The regulatory authority however, allowed the TV channels to report court’s proceedings which are broadcasted live.