By Irum Saleem
At least 16 anchors and journalists openly declare being the ‘media persons/supports’ of PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif, prompting PTI to call them ‘Sharif’s lafafa journalists (on Sharifs payroll)’.
The 16 journalists and anchorpersons — Geo’s Saleem Safi, Zahid Hussain, AAJ TV’s Asma Shirazi, Indus TV’s Ejaz Haider, AAJ TV’s Munizae Jahangir, Ghazi Salahuddin, Zubeida Mustafa, former PCB chief and former Geo anchor Najam Sethi, Nasim Zehra, Amber Rahim Shamsi, Gharida Farooqi, Mehmal Sarfraz and Express TV’s Mansoor Ali Khan and M. Ziauddin — had filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court challenging an order of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to ban speeches of absconder Nawaz Sharif on electronic media.
Becoming petitioners for Nawaz Sharif have disclosed the loyalty of these so-called anchors and journalists. Now the PTI appears to be right in blaming them ‘Nawaz’s handpicked journalists and anchors’.
Pemra had issued the directives after Pakistan Muslim League (PMLN) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif s speech was broadcast live by the electronic media while he was addressing a multi-party conference via a video link from London in October. Dawn reported that a day earlier, Advocate Ghulam Sabir filed six applications on behalf of Ms Faroogi, Ms Sarfraz, Mr Hussain, Ms Zehra, Ms Shirazi and Mr Safi for withdrawal of their names from the petition. However, the lawyer told the court that Ms Farooqi and Ms Sarfraz were unwilling to withdraw the main petition and requested it to treat their applications as withdrawn. Subsequently, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah dismissed the withdrawal applications of Ms Farooqi and Ms Sarfraz. Justice Minallah, however, allowed deleting the names of four journalists Mr Hussain, Ms Shirazi, Ms Zehra and Mr Safi from the list of the petitioners on their request.. The Nawaz lovers said in their petition that the order of the electronic media watchdog was unconstitutional and illegal prohibitions have been imposed on the electronic media of Pakistan with respect to the dissemination of information. This prohibition is a constitutional wrong in its own right and amounts [to] nullifying the rights made available under Article 19A of the Constitution`.
According to their petition, it is the right of the petitioners and of the print and electronic media in general to express, publish, disseminate, relay and broadcast the views and words of any person, including a convict, proclaimed offender or an absconder. Is a convict, proclaimed offender or absconder deprived of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, including the right to express?
After this, how come these anchors and journalists maintain their impartiality. Serthi like journalists were known touts of Nawaz Sharif since he had taken a pricy job of PCB chairman from him. The others must have taken something like this. — PAK DESTINY