Lahore, Jun 19 - A Pakistani court has issued a notice to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) in response to a writ petition seeking a ban on two anchors who were filmed coaching real estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain during an interview.
Malik Ghulam Mustafa filed the petition in the Lahore High Court that alleged anchors Mubashir Lucman and Meher Bokhari of Dunya TV had conducted a rigged interview of Hussain, who has acknowledged paying Rs 342.5 million to the Chief Justice's son to influence cases in the Supreme Court.
Mustafa contended that the anchors' actions had maligned the superior judiciary.
He alleged the interview was an attempt to undermine the supremacy of the judiciary and to give a bad name to it.
The two anchors have been at the centre of a controversy after the emergence of two videos of behind-the-scenes footage that showed them coaching the tycoon and discussing questions with him.
One of the videos shows Lucman purportedly receiving a phone call from Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's son, who also speaks to the tycoon.
Mustafa said the leaked videos of the conversations between the anchors and the tycoon exposed the "real hands" behind the conspiracy, as the premier's son purportedly spoke to Luqman and Hussain.
He alleged that the anchors were "blackmailers" as they not only tried to defame the judiciary but also to "harass the nation". He asked the court to summon both anchors so that they could reveal the truth behind the conspiracy and to take penal action against them.
After hearing arguments yesterday, the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court issued a notice to the PEMRA chairman and accepted a plea from television reporters to be made a party to the case.
The Chief Justice dismissed as withdrawn another writ petition seeking the formation of a commission to probe allegations that TV anchors had received favours from Hussain.
The Chief Justice observed that the Supreme Court had already taken notice of this issue and formed a two-judge committee to ascertain the facts. He said the petitioner should wait till the findings of that committee are known.
The Chief Justice, however, observed that the media should introduce standard operating procedures to make its working transparent and impartial.
He pointed out that an independent media is essential for an independent judiciary but it should follow a code of conduct. PTI