ARY Channel issued show cause notice for airing ‘defamatory’ programme

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Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued a show-cause notice to the owner of a private TV channel on Tuesday, for airing a talk show in which the superior judiciary had been defamed and directed the chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority (PEMRA) to submit a detailed report on channels on November 19. On October 9, the same bench had refrained PEMRA from airing talk shows that issued statements against the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) and the Supreme Court. Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, took notice of the program (Soch Pakistan), aired on October 26 on a private TV channel (ARY), in which the superior judiciary was defamed by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Faisal Raza Abidi. The program was aired despite a restraining order by the court. Justice Siddiqui issued a show cause notice to the owner of ARY media group, Haji Abdul Razzak, and also directed PEMRA Chairman Dr Abdul Jabbar to submit a complete record of channels and content of programs on November 19. Earlier the court had expressed dissatisfaction over a report submitted by PEMRA regarding programmes that tried to slander the Supreme Court. The court had directed the PEMRA chief to provide transcripts and footage of certain TV show episodes on November 19. The court directed Jabbar to submit complete records of show-cause notices to private channels for ‘defaming the judiciary’. PEMRA’s lawyer Iftikhar Bashir, in a report, claimed that the SC had already ordered the Federal Investigation Agency to conduct an inquiry on the issue. The court had asked why PEMRA seemed so helpless and why it was reluctant to take action against programmes which ridiculed the conduct of judges.

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