LAHORE: The Lahore High Court directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Monday to prevent the broadcast of anti-judiciary remarks by disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and officials of the Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz (PML-N).
The order was passed in response to a petition by the Judicial Activism Forum that said Sharif and his daughter had been making derogatory remarks about the judiciary in public rallies and media interactions.
The court instructed PEMRA to decide on all complaints regarding the broadcast of anti-judiciary remarks by Sharif and his daughter within 15 days, and to ensure that such content is not broadcast by anyone.
While legal experts say the decision is in line with Pakistan’s constitution, some think its implementation could be difficult.
“Freedom of speech is a fundamental right of every citizen,” Barrister Ali Zafar, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, told Arab News.
“It’s guaranteed by the constitution, though within certain limits. One can’t, for instance, make anti-judiciary comments,” he added.
“So the court’s decision is correct, but it will still be difficult to implement. In case of a live transmission, no one can predict what a speaker is going to say.”
Many analysts lauded the decision, saying it will result in responsible journalism in Pakistan. “It is part of the code of conduct that a (judicial) matter cannot be discussed until the court takes the final decision; however, news channels have been crossing the limit by broadcasting talk shows on such cases,” said Chudhry Khadim Huddain, editor of a national daily.
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