The Supreme Court of Pakistan constituted a two-member committee to look into the possibility of initiating a contempt of court proceeding against leaked video footage of a Malik Riaz’s interview.
A full court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry reviewed hotly debated controversy surrounding the behind-the-scenes footage of an interaction between two anchors of a private TV channel and real estate tycoon Malik Riaz.
The full-court while taking strong exception to the off-air conversation between the anchors and Malik Riaz, nominated Justice Khilji Airf Hussain and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja to review the matter.
The two judges have already dwelt at length on the role of mainstream media in creating hype and blowing up on unconfirmed financial corruptions of Dr Arsalan Iftikhar case.
In its short order, the two-member bench of the apex court questioned the role of some TV anchors for showing severe negligence in their professional responsibilities.
It added the media professional exhibited lack of due diligence in taking stock and ascertaining the authenticity of the case relating to allegations of a business deal between Arsalan Iftikhar and the business tycoon.
The full court meeting discussed the issue of controversial clip more than other topics on the agenda of the sitting.
Earlier, Acting Chairman PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) Dr Abdul Jabbar provided footage and script of the interview to the court.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry asked Dr Abdul Jabbar about the regulations and role of the regulatory body in preventing the telecast of the contemptuous and scandalous material against the judiciary.
He observed, “Day in and day out the judiciary is being ridiculed and several attempts had been made over the last week to undermine the judiciary”.
Upon which, the acting chairman PEMRA stated that notices were issued to channels violating the law and actions taken on complaints.
Supreme Court Registrar Dr Faqeer Hussain issued a note saying, “The video tends to prejudice the determination of pending cases before the Supreme Court and, therefore, warrants action under Article 204 of the Constitution read with Contempt of Court Ordinance 2003”.
It smacked of a planned conspiracy to shake public faith in the administration of justice and undermine the dignity of the judiciary, the note added.