LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has approached the Lahore High Court challenging a de facto ban on the coverage of all material relating to him on the electronic media.

A writ petition filed through Advocate Sameer Khosa says it is clear that there is a misconceived ban in place on airing/broadcasting of any content regarding the petitioner, who came to know about the curb through media reports.

It states that the fact of the ban is obvious from viewing the television screens where anchorpersons uttering the petitioner’s name are censored and his name and images are removed.

It pleads that the de facto ban is a misconceived purported implementation of a general directive to the television channels issued by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), which has not been communicated to the petitioner.

However, the petition says the Pemra’s directive neither mentions the petitioner, nor refers to or covers the petitioner.

It argues that the impugned ban curbs the fundamental rights of the petitioner and also denies him the opportunity to publicly express his views to the members of his political party and the general public.

The petition says that the petitioner is a former prime minister, a law-abiding citizen and has not been convicted or declared an absconder by any court of law.

It asks the court to declare the impugned ban on the coverage of the petitioner unconstitutional.

It further asks the court to declare that the general directive issued by the Pemra does not in any way require the de facto ban on the broadcast of the petitioner’s activities on the electronic media.

The hearing of the petition has been fixed before Justice Rasaal Hassan Syed for Tuesday (today).

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2023

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