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PBC, SCBA endorse HRW appeal against muzzling critics in media

November 30, 2012

Lawyers opined that rather than banning shows, culprits should be dealt accordingly with the law.— File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Lawyers of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) endorsed the Human Rights Watch's concerns over the Supreme Court's actions perceived to restrain the media, a local daily newspaper reported on Friday.

The representatives of the superior bars were of the view that the judiciary should learn from the criticism in the media and in case of a crime is committed in this regards, rather than issuing restraining orders the culprits should be dealt according to the law.

Leaders of the lawyer bodies also believed that the media should be independent and free from restrictions and that it had the right to regulate itself on sensitive issues and the judiciary should not interfere in the matter.

On the other a leading senior analyst belonging to a local news group opined that the HRW should have checked and verified the petitions filed in the courts with regards to the contempt of court, before accusing the apex court of muzzling the media. Najam Sethi said that the HRW action was uncalled for as the court had issued notices only in case of personal attacks and not for the criticism of the judicial verdict's

The international human rights organisation based in the US had voiced its concern over use of “contempt of court powers” by the judges in Pakistan to stop criticism of judiciary in the media.

There has been a rise in the case pertaining to the media in the courts.

The court issued notices to a local tv news channel owner pertaining to Malik Riaz's interview broadcasted and to Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) over Senator Faisal Raza Abidi's outbursts against the chief justice broadcasted on local TV channels.