LAHORE: Geo News senior analyst Najam Sethi has said it will have been better if the Human Rights Watch (HRW) had studied the writ petitions filed about contempt of court and the court verdicts given in this regard, or talked to some analysts about the ground realities before charging Pakistan’s higher judiciary with using its powers to ‘muzzling media’.
He believed that HRW’s allegations that judges were using contempt of court laws to stop the media from criticising the judiciary were uncalled for and against the facts. He said the HRW played an important role during judiciary’s movement for independence in Pakistan during the Musharraf era and it would again come to its help if ever any situation is created in the country again. However, its current criticism of the judiciary was unjustified, Sethi added. The political analyst said the court took contempt notices only in the cases in which the judges of superior courts were vilified, abused and subjected to character-assassination. He said some private TV channels also indulged in personal attacks on judges and their character-assassination, and the contempt of court notices taken in such cases were fully justified.
Najam Sethi said Geo News programme “Apas Ki Baat” had criticised on various occasions many court verdicts, but it never received any notice from the court as the programme had only analysed and criticised the court verdict and their consequences, and not the person of the judges. He said the Geo management always stresses balance in presentation of programmes and avoiding abuses and vilification of judges.
The analyst said the media handled the Arsalan Iftikhar and Malik Riaz case sensibly, and avoided involving Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in this conflict. He said he believed that Pakistani media was independent to a large extent and it was playing its role without succumbing to any pressures.