Geo News is in the dock as the new CJP takes suo motu notice of selective coverage of full court reference

By Raza Ruman
Islamabad (Pak Destiny) – Newly-appointed Chief Justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani took suo motu notice of issue of providing footage of Wednesday’s full court reference to only one private TV channel – Geo News.

It has been alleged by other media groups like Express, Dunya and ARY that the SC administration especially Iftikhar Chaudhry had supported Jang/Geo group by providing the footage of the program and in return Geo News ran a full-fledged promotional campaign of Iftikhar.

The full court reference was held yesterday in honor of outgoing CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The Chief Justice appointed Additional Registrar Supreme Court Muhammad Ali as the inquiry officer.

The new CJP took this suo moto notice soon after assuming his office on Thursday on a note presented by registrar SC.

It was said in the note that such reports have been telecast in electronic media at large scale that a particular media group has been given access to court room No 1 wherein footage of full court reference has been made.

The journalists boycotted all the functions which were held following full court reference. This has reflected negative attitude of SC while the court practices extreme impartiality, report added.

The Chief Justice ordered additional registrar to probe the matter and submit the report.

It is worth mentioning here that the media groups on Wednesday aggressively reacted over the discrimination done by the Supreme Court administration by allowing only one private channel to cover the full court reference held in honour of outgoing CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Wednesday. Even the state-run television was not even given access to cover the event.

Raising voice against the discrimination, the media groups demanded of the incoming Chief Justice to take suo motu action against this prejudice. The journalists chanted slogans ‘Boycott Supreme Court’ ‘Boycott’ in the Supreme Court premises.

When the protest gained momentum, CJ’s Staff Officer Abdul Hameed came outside the hall and promised to hold an inquiry into the matter.

He said the court admin had hired a private cameraman to record the event and had been asked to provide footage to all TV channels.

However, his explanation further complicated the situation as he failed to satisfy the reporters. He maintained that the cameraman ran away with the footage.

Commenting on the issue, former president Supreme Court Bar Association Rasheed A Rizvi said that the move was violation of Article 25.

PPP leader Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said that the discrimination was just a no ball from Supreme Court’s side.

SCBA Secretary Asif Cheema said those favouring a single private TV channel would be exposed and the matter would be probed thoroughly.

Later, the Supreme Court Bar Association also convened an emergency session over the issue and approved a unanimous resolution against the incident. – Pak Destiny

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