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Editor-in-Chief of Jang/Geo wins defamation suit

By Asim Javed
March 12, 2022
Editor-in-Chief of Jang/Geo wins defamation suit

ISLAMABAD: In a landmark judgement in the country’s history, a district court of the federal capital has vindicated the position of Jang/Geo Group and its Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in their defamation case against a journalist who vilified them by publishing a series of concocted, malicious and pernicious allegations in foreign websites.

In his six-page verdict, Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Adnan has ordered Tayyab Baloch of Bol TV to pay Rs100 million to Jang/Geo Group and Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman in damages, besides directing him to “tender an apology acceptable to the plaintiffs and publish the same in similar manner and with same prominence as the defamatory contents were disseminated.”

The court also directed the journalist to “permanently” refrain from abusing the cyberspace to damage reputation of Pakistan’s largest media house — the Jang/Geo Group — and its Editor-in-Chief.

In his outrageous and sinister allegations posted on foreign websites, the journalist had questioned patriotism and professional integrity of Jang/Geo Group and Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman by accusing them of being pro-India, working on foreign anti-state agenda, working and manipulating for media publicity of PMLN supremo Nawaz Sharif, and controlling media.

The Group and its Editor-in-Chief contended in their case filed under the Defamation Ordinance 2002 that their reputation sustained a heavy blow when prominent politicians, media personalities etc shared these articles with others.

The Group maintained that two notices were served on the journalist, but he again did not respond. They informed the court that the Jang/Geo Group also sent a legal notice to the British website director Adam Garrie who, after conducting research himself, declared the allegations baseless.

Adam Garrie not only tendered an unconditional apology to the Jang/Geo Group, but also removed the articles from the website. He also published also the apology on his website, stating, “We have concluded that there was and is no evidence, and that each of the allegations made in the Articles against Mr Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and/or the Jang Group were wholly false, malicious and highly defamatory of Mr Mir Shakil ur Rahman and/or Jang Group”.

“We have also investigated each of the allegations made in the articles and found them to be completely false, malicious and fabricated.” After publication of apology by the British website, Tayyab Baloch started publishing his defamatory article on a Russian website, continuing his tirade against Jang/Geo Group and Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman who pleaded in their defamation suit that false, baseless and concocted allegation harmed the credibility and reputation of Jang/Geo Group.

Barrister Safiullah Ghori and his assistants, Sarfraz Ahmad Baloch and Hasan Raza, represented Jang/Geo Group, and argued on the case filed under the Defamation Ordinance 2002. The counsel told this correspondent that in principle, courts decree damages keeping in view the stature of a complainant and substantiated harm to the reputation. During the course of hearing, the journalist did not appear before court on several occasions. He failed to present even a single evidence to substantiate his allegations.