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Pak media watchdog suspends licence of news channel for airing ‘contemptuous’ remarks against judges

GS paper 2

Pakistan’s media watchdog has suspended the licence of a TV channel for 30 days and imposed a fine of Rs. 1 million on it after one of its controversial anchors voiced “contemptuous” remarks and “cast aspersions” on the judiciary.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) took action against Bol News on Friday, according to a statement. “PEMRA suspends Bol News for 30 days, fine of Rupees one million is also imposed,” PEMRA said in a tweet.

Bol News anchor Sami Ibrahim on January 13 “aired contemptuous remarks against the … chief justice of the Lahore High Court (LHC) and other honourable judges while discussing the matter of appointment of judges in the LHC”.

The anchor “cast aspersions on the superior judiciary in violation of Article 19 read with Article 68 of the Constitution […] and the PEMRA laws including the PEMRA Code of Conduct, 2015”, it said.

The authority noted that the channel failed to express regret after being issued show cause notice and instead insisted that it should be withdrawn. In April 2019, the LHC sent a notice to Mr. Ibrahim for “scandalising” high court judges.

Minister for Science Fawad Chaudhry slapped the anchor at a wedding party in 2019 after he had accused him in a talk show of conspiring against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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