On Friday, the Pakistan Electronic Media Authority Regulatory Authority (Pemra) revoked the licence of the TV channel Bol News for 30 days and levied a fine of Rs1 million for broadcasting “contemptuous” remarks against the judges of the High Court of Lahore (LHC).
A show-cause notice was given by the authorities to M/s Labbaik Pvt. Ltd. (Bol News) on 13 January on its ‘Tajzia’ programme hosted by anchorman Sami Ibrahim.
According to a statement released by Pemra on Twitter, during an episode of the talk show, the channel “aired contemptuous remarks against the … chief justice of the Lahore High Court and other honourable judges while discussing the matter of appointment of judges in the” LHC.
It claimed that both Ibrahim and the channel’s senior correspondent “cast aspersions against 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”
Sami Ibrahim is a famous TV anchor and a number of high-profile personalities have been interviewed, most recently by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In its response, Pemra’s statement read, “The channel did not express any regrets or remorse and argued that [the] show-cause notice is uncalled for and must be withdrawn,”
Pemra concluded the matter by suspending its satellite TV channel licence after reviewing the reply submitted and the material transmitted by Bol News. The Rs1m fine must be charged by the channel within 30 days.
This is not the first time that Ibrahim has been in trouble for his statements about members of the judiciary.
In April 2019, for allegedly scandalising high court judges, the LHC released a notice to the senior reporter.
When pursuing contempt of court action against Ibrahim, the petitioner in that case had claimed that the anchorperson had charged that the LHC judges were supplying the PML-N with unconstitutional relief.