ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani Thursday directed the Secretary Senate to write a letter to PEMRA for taking action against a senior journalist under the law, who had committed contempt of Parliament.
Giving his ruling after debate by the lawmakers in Senate about the uncalled for remarks by the journalist, the Chairman also directed the government, to follow up the matter with Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) under intimation to this House.
The Chairman said that Senator Shahi Syed on a point of order raised the question of a TV programme aired live on October 27, wherein the journalist had used abusive language against not an individual, but against the whole institution of Parliament.
It is correct that Article 19 of the Constitution 1973 provides for freedom of speech, but it is also provided in the said Article, “subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law,” he said.
He said Article 19 guarantees the right of freedom of expression to a citizen of Pakistan, but it does not grant him a license for the use of abusive language.
Rabbani said it was a very severe question where Parliament without any cause or provocation, as an institution, has been abused, slandered and brought into disrepute, stricto senso it constitutes a severe breach of the privilege of Parliament. The Parliament would be well within its constitutional and legal right to proceed against such person or individual in the manner provided for under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate 2012.
Rabbani said, “Parliament being the custodian of the rights of the people of Pakistan and the institutions functioning through or under the Constitution and other institutions such as the media, would expect that the media itself would check in future that such incidents are not repeated and that individuals who are guilty of such acts do not find accommodation in their channels or columns”.