Islamabad, March 15 (IANS) The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to submit rules proposed to regulate social media and warned that constitutional courts never allowed the government to ban the media.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, while hearing the case on media ethics and regulations on Saturday, said that constructive criticism was a prerequisite for nation building, reports Dawn news.
“Why should one (be) afraid of criticism?” asked the Chief Justice.
Well-known journalist Hamid Mir informed the court that the government has issued a notification to regulate social media. However, federal ministers were unaware of these regulations and they have openly admitted that it was issued without due deliberation of the federal cabinet.
Representatives of the PTA and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) informed the court that Prime Minister Imran Khan had constituted a committee to review these regulations after they received national and international criticism.
He further informed the court that these regulations had not been implemented so far since they had not been notified in the official gazette.
Chief Justice Minallah directed the PTA and Pemra representatives to submit details of these regulations and adjourned the hearing for two weeks.
Barrister Jahangir Jadoon, the lawyer who challenged the social media regulations, told the court that following the arrest of Jang Group’s editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman, Pemra had allegedly asked cable operators to block Geo TV’s transmission, adding that subsequently the channel had either been blacked out or its number moved to the tail end.