Dr. Shahid Masood Programme Banning Case: IHC dimisses ARY appeal

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Dr. Shahid Masood Programme Banning Case: IHC dimisses ARY appeal

ISLAMABAD: (APP) Islamabad High Court (IHC) has dismissed an appeal of ARY television against an order of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) for banning programme "Live with Dr Shahid Masood" for 45 days from August 15.

PEMRA had banned Dr Shahid Masood's programme for making certain comments which cast aspersions on the Chief Justice of Sindh High Court.

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PEMRA passed an order on August 10, 2016 while accepting the recommendations of the Council of Complaints and imposed penalties on ARY television.

While delivering the verdict on Monday, Judge Aamer Farooq stated that the appeal of ARY was without merit. The appeal was filed by the owner and CEO of ARY Media Communication.

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In his judgment, the judge further noted that the examination of the words used in the programme showed that no name was taken, however it was evident and clear that the opinion and remarks were referred to the Chief Justice of Sindh High court.

"This becomes further evident from the proceedings initiated by the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan in the case titled Sindh High Court Bar Association versus Federation of Pakistan."

In this behalf the august apex court vide order dated July 15, 2016 observed as follows:

"We have noticed that few days before the abduction of Mr Owais Ali Shah, through social and other electronic media, a campaign of vilification has been started against the Judges of the Superior Judiciary at different levels for which no action has so far been taken by the relevant forums. After the abduction of Mr Owais Ali Shah, a regular campaign of character assassination of Superior Court Judges has been started and no one from the relevant authorities has either shown concern or taken action.

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To our understanding it is the PTA and/or PEMRA who are the relevant authorities for the purpose of taking actions against such a campaign maligning the institution."

The judge further stated that earlier in an order dated July 21, 2016, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had directed Chairman PEMRA to file comprehensive report including the copies of the proceedings with respect to proceedings initiated against channels which were involved in the negative propaganda against the superior judiciary, hence remarks/opinion of the host not only violated the Code of

Conduct 2015, therefore, the action taken by the respondents regarding prohibition of broadcasting of the programme "Live with Dr Shahid Masood" for a period of 45 days falls within the parameters of section 27 of the PEMRA ordinance.

The IHC judge noted that as host Dr Shahid Masood has not assailed the order impugned in the instant appeal, therefore, to his extent the same has attained finality.