Continued.

This article follows from the first three points of the court reporters’ “Shall Not Code” published here on Saturday.

(4) A court reporter shall not accept financial benefits, gifts or any entertainment opportunity/visits/trips from lawyers or litigants of a high profile case especially when he is to report about it. A collective decision of the reporters’ body to attend an event for the professional purpose of reporting may be taken. The so called backgrounders on free lunches must be avoided especially at the individual level.

(5) A court reporter shall not approach the registrar or the apex court staff for fixation or priority fixation of any case in the court.

(6) A court reporter shall not privately discuss with a judge in a public gathering any case being adjudicated upon by that judge or any case already decided by him.

(7) A court reporter shall not give advice to litigants or personally help any of them by way of facilitating their access to court premises or court rooms especially when in breach of security procedures.

(8) A court reporter shall not report a one sided version of a litigant in court proceedings and for a complete picture shall always find a brief position of the other side and background of the case as well.

(9) A court reporter shall not advise or persuade any litigant to file or withdraw a petition and especially with personal motives.

(10) A court reporter shall never misquote a judge and judges remarks must be translated to convey the actual and intended meaning only. A reporter must not give direct quotes of judges when not personally present in the court room. Attributions to lawyers or litigants can help.

(11) A court reporter shall not demand or accept financial assistance from government or any other philanthropist organization, especially if and when their cases are pending before the court.

(12) A court reporter shall not report the statements of people against judges or judiciary which is abusive, derogatory or contemptuous in nature and shall always apologize to an audience if it is made by someone in a live interview.

(13) A court reporter shall not report or write about a matter relating or affecting his personal family interest. The court reporter shall always inform the editor if a case proceeding or a court story is indirectly affecting his personal interests. The editor may decide to assign another reporter to do the story or allow the same reporter to complete the job.

(14) A court reporter shall not withhold any information which is required to be released immediately in the public interest except when there is no urgency and further evidence and views of all concerned are to be collected.

(15) A court reporter shall not use privileged information or classified documents other than for news reporting in the public interest and information. No document shall be shared with private parties until after their complete publication.

(16) A court reporter shall not call on sitting judges in their chambers or residence and make them a source of information and shall also not socialize with the judges. This particularly applies to those journalists who developed contacts/relationships with judges after joining journalism.

(17) A court reporter shall not desire or attempt to have a personalized photographic session with sitting judges except for an official group photo of court reporters association.

(18) A court reporter shall not scandalize or malign a judge and report about his personal or professional conduct except with strong evidence to promote public interest.

(19) A court reporter shall not directly approach judges for a story or scandal relating to his personal or professional conduct and shall always seek their reaction through the registrar or concerned court officials through a written questionnaire.

(20) No court reporter shall approach the court, administration for provision of any professional facilities until authorized by the concerned court reporters community or body.

(21) A court reporter shall not try to manipulate the Human Rights jurisdiction of the Supreme Court by way of publishing material or planting stories to benefit individuals, groups and government departments. He shall also not try to seek the attention of the court towards such stories.

(22) A court reporter shall not represent his media organization in any legal proceeding and ask their media organizations to hire lawyers for the purpose. He shall also not withhold unfavourable facts relating to a proceeding concerning his organization.

(23) A court reporter shall avoid as much as possible habitual and frivolous public interest litigants to prevent a chain reaction among TV channels which causes unnecessary public alarm and promotes vested interests.

(24) A court reporter shall not hesitate to correct his facts or apologize for his mistakes or misreporting as soon as possible.

(25) A court reporter shall not report the arguments of a lawyer or remarks of a judge, if expunged through a written court order containing reasons thereof.

(26) A court reporter shall not directly quote a judge, lawyer or litigant if he himself is not physically present in the court proceedings and if not present himself he shall always attribute and verify the information from the concerned lawyer and litigant in addition to the court order itself.

(27) A court reporter shall not become part of any media agitation with regard to judges and judiciary.

(28) A court reporter shall never misbehave with lawyer litigants or a fellow journalist and shall be decent and gentle in his demeanor in public.

(29) A court reporter shall not confuse facts with his personal opinion, especially in discussions or written analysis in media and shall always qualify his opinion as personal.

The above “Shall Not Code” once agreed upon by the concerned court reporters forum can be enforceable in the spirit of self regulation through the Press Council of Pakistan.

 The writer is a senior supreme court reporter and anchor for Waqt News.

Email:matiullahjan@gmail.com