ISLAMABAD -  The Supreme Court yesterday rejected a private TV channel’s request to suspend an Islamabad High Court’s verdict and said the media should be very careful regarding airing programmes and/or reporting on the judiciary.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, heard a private television channel’s appeal against an Islamabad High Court’s verdict.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) had suspended Neo TV Channel’s licence for a week for airing a talk show regarding Justice Ameer Hani Muslim and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Senator Nehal Hashmi’s meeting at an airport.

The channel approached the IHC against the Pemra order, but it turned down their request, so they filed an appeal in the apex court.

The court issued notices to the Pemra chairperson for personal appearance on December 7 along with its order of suspending the channel’s licence for a week.

The court noted the decision of the authority on November 26, 2016, in this case did not indicate that after receiving recommendation of the personnel committee hearing any separate meeting of the Pemra took place on the same day for an independent decision. It seemed the DG (operations) of the Pemra had issued a notice for suspension of licence on its own.

Asma Jahangir, representing NEO TV, contended due to the fault of its anchor the whole channel was suffering. She said no one should be targeted in the name of judiciary. Asma said: “Don’t hang a person for a speech which has not created any violence.”

Justice Khosa remarked after that incident they had become very careful about going to family weddings and shaking hands with others, so that people could not take the impression that they were discussing the Panama leaks. He said all over the world media reported on various topics, but it was very careful, while reporting on judiciary.

Justice Khosa said the basis of this organ of the state was the moral authority otherwise there would be question marks on it. Justice Dost Muhammad said: “It is like a person who abuses another, but later says he did so in good faith.”

Jahangir argued: “We have to be thick-skinned as we are for each other, otherwise the freedom of speech would be compromised. The same anchor has so many things against me, but it did not bother me,” she averred. She said the judges were protectors of fundamental rights.

Justice Khosa said the Pemra’s order seemed to be issued by the general manager (operation) on which he had written that it had been taken on the recommendation of the personnel committee. Implementing that order, the TV licence was suspended, so they would summon the record from the Pemra.

Asma said they had not produced the personnel committee’s order before the IHC, adding tomorrow they would issue such an order.

The court said they were not presuming it and issued a notice to the Pemra chairman. The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday.