“Anchors have pushed our society to the edge of destruction.” Justice Shaukat Siddiqui

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The Islamabad High Court yesterday exempted the Chief Executive Officer of Waqt television news network, Rameeza Majid Nizami, from personal appearance before the court in a contempt of court case.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui also accepted the plea of the anchor of Waqt television’s programme “Apna Apna Gareban” Matiullah Jan to seek more time for legal consultation.

Honourable judge of the Islamabad High Court, Justice Shaukat Siddiqui , in his comments in the case of State Vs Matiullah Jan, Rameeza Majid Nizami (CEO WaqtNews), Muhammad Ali Javed (Producer), Sardar Hameed (Bureau Chief) and Mr Zeshan Mehmood (Associate Producer), addressed the respondents after replaying entire TV show Apna Apna Gareban of 5 February, on a television screen in the courtroom packed with media persons and lawyers.

The Honourable Justice Siddiqui called for an explanation from Ms Nizami, whereupon she explained that Nawaiwaqt Group held the utmost respect for the Islamabad High Court and the Honourable judiciary and no ill will or maliciousness was intended in the said programme. Justice Siddiqui said, “How could such a programme be done without checking the facts?”

The Honourable Justice Siddiqui asked, “Will it be a journalist that says whether something is legal or illegal? Who is a journalist to question a civil judge or a high court judge or a Supreme Court judge?”

The Honourable Justice Siddiqui asked, “Do you interview before hiring, do you know how many journalists have fake degrees, do you look at any CVs for qualifications before hiring?”

The Honourable Justice Siddiqui said, “Anchors have pushed our society to the edge of destruction.” Justice Siddiqui also mentioned television channels involved in the non-conforming use of residential areas in Islamabad by establishing their offices there. He said, “It is due to media itself that the order to end commercial activity in residential areas was impeded in certain cases.”

Referring to the programme, he said, “How could someone refer to the Chief Justice , as Saqib Nisar?” The Honourable Justice Siddiqui said he took court reporters as his younger brothers. Yet, he said, “Media has never reported on the good things the judiciary has done.” In another matter, the Honourable Justice Siddiqui said that he was the only judge who had the courage and who was ordering a fake accuser of blasphemy to be given the same punishment as someone guilty of blasphemy.

He ordered Pemra to present the transcript of another TV show, Report Card from Geo TV, that discussed Valentine’s Day. He said, “Their bottles have been broken so now they are in pain.”

The Honourable Justice Siddiqui said, “Just because as a judge we cannot answer and clarify, does not mean that you can commit murder.”

The management of Waqt TV offered to give an undertaking on Monday with an unconditional apology for any hurt caused to the sentiments of the court or the legal community. Barrister Taimoor Aslam Khan, counsel for the CEO, and Syed Safeer Hussain Shah Advocate, the counsel for the production team of the programme, appeared before the court during the proceedings.

Mr Matiullah Jan requested time until Monday to consult his lawyer before giving any undertaking, as he was appearing personally in the case up until now. The matter was adjourned till Monday, February 19, 2018. Ms Nizami was granted an exemption from personal attendance on account of her infant child.

Justice Siddiqui appreciated Mr Salim Bokhari, Editor The Nation, and also mentioned names of Nawaiwaqt journalists Nawaz Raza and Javed Siddique, terming them good media men. Mr Aslam Khan, a columnist of daily Nawaiwaqt, was also given the opportunity to present brief comments.

During the hearing, a high court lawyer addressed the honourable judge and said, “the anchor of the TV show does not even respect his father.” To this Matiullah Jan asked the lawyer to behave and keep the dignity of the court. Honourable Justice Siddiqui too asked the lawyer to keep quiet. The hearing will resume on Monday.

In comments to CEO Waqt

Addressing CEO of Waqt News, Rameeza Majid Nizami, he said “You are safest in this court. Maybe you are not safe outside.”

After being informed that Ms Nizami had recently had a baby girl, he said, “May Allah give you a baby boy also.” On the subject of Ms Nizami’s unavailability from the office due to maternity leave, he said, “Maternity leave is no excuse; if anything it gives you more time to watch TV. Do you not watch your own television channel, do you only watch others?”

Addressing Ms Nizami, the Honourable Justice Siddiqui said, “One court order would be sufficient to take care of you. Newspapers are not allowed to operate television channels. Do you know this?”

Addressing the counsel appearing for Ms Nizami, honourable judge said, “If I tell you to stand on this side, you will have to give your wakalat nama back.”

When cautioning the respondent Ms Nizami not to interrupt Justice Siddiqui said, “This is not your home, you will have to listen to what I say.”

Referring to the Nawaiwaqt Media Group, the Honourable Chief Justice told Ms Nizami, “Your newspaper held a different place before. Nawaiwaqt has always been read and respected in our home.”

When explained that the Honourable Justice Siddiqui’s judgements have been lauded and reported widely across the Nawaiwaqt Media Group, he responded, “I am not a flamboyant judge. I am least interested in media attention. Please do not publish any news of my orders if you think you are doing me any favours. By airing this news, it helps your ratings.”

Honourable Justice Siddiqui said Hameed Nizami and Majid Nizami were iconic personalities of Pakistani media.

end

Mediabites Editorial – Courtesy: The Nation

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