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IHC issues notices on PBA plea against order on airing game shows

National

May 16, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: A division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) here on Tuesday issued notices to the respondents in an Intra-Court Appeal (ICA) of Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) challenging a May 9 IHC single bench order that had barred private channels from airing game shows like ‘Neelam Ghar’ and also directed that in the holy month of Ramazan, no programme besides the guidelines of Pemra shall be aired.

The PBA, while citing Ministry of interior, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and advocate Waqas Malik as respondents, has challenged the judgment of Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui.

The IHC division bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, while hearing the plea, issued notices to the respondents and put of hearing till May 17.

The legal counsel for the PBA, Barrister Ali Zafar, argued before the court that his client is aggrieved by the single bench order which has imposed a complete ban on certain programmes like 'Neelam Ghar' and issued various directions to the channels on what to show and what not to show as well as the timings of the programmes. Single judge has also formed a censor board to view programmes and also formed the committee to oversee the workings of Pemra.

Barrister Zafar said that the May 9 judgment has also banned entertainment programmes before 9 pm during the month of Ramazan on the assumption that entertainment programmes are immoral and indecent. He argued that the single judge has no jurisdiction under the Constitution and the law to pass such directions. Under Article 19 ‘Freedom of Speech and expression and ‘freedom of press’ are fundamental rights guaranteed to the people and only Parliament can impose reasonable restrictions on these rights only through laws.

Barrister Zafar said that the judgment is wholly illegal and void as no court could impose its version of indecency and morality on the public.

Justice Siddiqui in his May 9 judgment had said IHC bench further declared that "No programme suggestive of containing lottery and gambling, even apparently for noble purpose like Haj/Umra tickets etc. shall be promoted to air either live or recorded. Programme like 'Neelam Ghar' and those appear to be like circus show must be stopped".

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