ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Federation, media bodies and others on a petition seeking action against the people involved in ‘maligning’ the judiciary and judges of superior courts.

Hearing a petition moved by Sardar Shahbaz Ali Khan Khosa, IHC judge Justice Aamer Farooq directed the Federation, the Ministry of Information and Technology, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, the All Pakistan Newspaper Society, the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, the Pakistan Press Foundation and the Pakistan Newspaper Editors to submit their replies within 15 days.

Sardar Khosa had prayed the court to issue directions for regulating the broadcast and print media, carrying ‘contemptuous’ content targeting state institutions. He has prayed that the same may be stopped forthwith till the final decision of the petition, only allowing fair broadcasting to the extent of reporting of facts.

The petitioner has adopted that he recently noticed through print, electronic and social media that the judgments of the superior courts were being purposely, and by design, targeted to malign the judiciary, judges of superior courts and other courts.

“The bulk of print, electronic and social media are without any system of checks and balances and they are being allowed to violate the very basics of the terms and conditions of their licences,” said the petitioner. 

“The ruling elite of the country is ridiculing the judicial system, making a mockery of it. Persons having no experience/ legal background are purposely given space in the print, electronic and social media for their opinion on matters pertaining to the judiciary which have been decided by the apex courts after due process and through constitutional means.”

The petitioner has contended that live telecasting of contemptuous speeches by political persons and by laymen without checking its content has led to an irreparable damage to the judiciary.

According to the petitioner, the lack of checks by the respondents, allowing printing and publishing and broadcasting of such speeches shows the inaction on part of institutions of the state whose very purpose is to regulate broadcasting and printing and dissemination of such content. It said that by allowing such content, the respondents were responsible for ridiculing the Supreme Court and the whole judiciary. 

Khosa prayed to the court to direct respondents to act in accordance with the law to ensure implementation of laws, conditions of licences, code of ethics or responsible journalism is followed in letter and spirit and no content is allowed to be printed and broadcast which contravenes the provisions of the Constitution. He has further requested the court that the respondents may be summoned to explain why the print, electronic and social media is allowed to target and ridicule state institutions.