IHC throws out plea seeking ban on airing Nawaz Sharif’s speeches

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ISLAMABAD   Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday rejected the petition seeking a ban on airing speeches of former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif on television channels. IHC Chief Justice Justice Athar Minallah while rejecting the plea against Nawaz Sharif s speeches declared the petition inadmissible. The verdict stated that the intervention of the Islamabad High Court to ban the speeches of the former PM and PML-N supremo was not right. The IHC chief justice remarked that the court cannot directly intervene when there was an alternative procedure in the law, adding that banning Nawaz Sharif s speeches was not a case of public importance. Earlier, A citizen filed the petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and made 70-year-old Sharif, his brother Shehbaz Sharif, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) chairman and others as respondents, the Express Tribune reported. In his plea, the petitioner contended that the convicted former premier during his recent speeches, especially the one delivered via video link during the all parties conference on September 20, had maligned the state institutions and a convict s speech cannot be allowed to be broadcast on media. “His [Sharif s] speech tarnished the image of national institutions.” The petitioner said that Sharif is a convicted criminal from the court and he cannot speak to the media, pleading the court to ban Sharif s “hate speech”.The petitioner pleaded the court to instruct PEMRA that Sharif s next speech should not be aired on any TV channel. On Thursday, PEMRA banned broadcast and rebroadcast of any speech, interview or public address of absconders or proclaimed offenders. The regulatory body prohibited the broadcasting of content including commentary, opinions or suggestions about the potential fate of sub-judice matter which tends to prejudice the determination by a court and a tribunal in compliance with the order passed by the Supreme Court. “If licensee fails to comply with the aforementioned directives, the authority shall take action under Sections 29 and 30 of the PEMRA Ordinance which may result in imposition of fine and suspension/revocation of licence,” it added.

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