ISLAMABAD: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) along with journalists, anchors and media analysts on Wednesday withdrew their petition before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against a directive issued by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) banning broadcast of speeches, interviews and public addresses by proclaimed offenders and absconders.

Salman Akram Raja, counsel for the petitioner, requested the court to allow withdrawal of the petition since the petitioners intended to file afresh. Initially, the petitioner had challenged Pemra’s directive after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech was broadcast live on electronic media during his address at the multi-parties conference through video link from London in October last year.

The petition contends that the order of the electronic media watchdog is “unconstitutional and illegal prohibitions have been imposed on the electronic media of Pakistan with respect to the dissemination of information. This prohibition is a constitutional wrong in its own right and amounts [to] nullifying the rights made available under Article 19A of the Constitution”.

According to the counsel, the petition was limited to two directives of Pemra and the petitioners wanted to enhance its scope. IHC chief justice dismissed the petition as withdrawn.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2021

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