Giving any intentionally false or inaccurate account of court proceedings constitutes a crime or not in the eyes of the law is for the court to decide. However, the move by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to safeguard and protect the sanctity of the highest court of the land is a right line of action. One has to tell the truth or face the consequences. The Supreme Court has issued notices to some dailies for allegedly misreporting a court story, in which the top judiciary appeared to be criticizing the government. Some publications, in their lead stories, reported that the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, while hearing a suo motu case of illegal construction in Banigala, had remarked that the current government has no capability and planning. Anyone who reads the news item in the newspapers can make out straight away that the headline isn’t in any way representative of what the CJP in fact said. To set the record straight, the top judge has distanced himself from those remarks, adding that this news is untrue. The newspapers ran wrong stories; CJP said adding that the talk was about the CDA (Capital Development Authority) in the Banigala case. There is a recording available of the court’s proceedings, which can be played. TV programs were also run on the basis of this wrong news, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan said, to which Additional Attorney General Nayyer Rizvi added that tickers were also run on the same. Jumping to print news without checking its validity is a wrong and unethical practice by the electronic media. This is a good step taken by the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Let the respective editorial teams answer the court’s questions about the misinterpreted news. This will restore discipline and professionalism in the electronic media. A similar action is also required about TV anchors and politicians, who speak at full volume against our honorable army and judiciary. In its official notification, the court has said that it was taken aback by the news as the court never made such observations about the federal government. Those observations were made against the Capital Development Authority. This is an instance of gross misreporting. The court has issued notices to the publications’ printers, publishers and editors, with the directives to respond. Perhaps, the idea at the back of such false news was to prop up conflict between the institutions and pull off political score against the government. We think this is the height of irresponsible journalism. How such a big misunderstanding can take place. There must have been some reason behind this.
Yellow journalism with a hidden agenda, a trademark of some group of newspapers, needs to be curbed.