The Supreme Court (SC) has instructed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to promptly withdraw notices sent to journalists involved in a “malicious campaign” against the judiciary and institutions on social media.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, heard the case pertaining to harassment of journalists by FIA.
CJP ISA told Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan that verbal abuse was a different matter and that the FIA should not take action against journalists, especially on criticism.
The AGP assured the Chief Justice of Pakistan that journalists would not face any action.
The chief justice remarked that he is strongly against curtailing criticism, as freedom of the press is enshrined in the Constitution. “I don’t care if you make fun of me, but if you make fun of the judiciary, the country will suffer. You can criticise the Supreme Court, but the Constitution also has some limitations,” he said.
“If you think that you are benefiting me or the Supreme Court by stopping criticism, then you are harming [the institution],” CJP Isa remarked.
Qazi Faez Isa also said that media persons are allowed to criticise, but the matter of incitement is different. “We can never restrain a common man or a journalist from criticising.”
Justice Musarrat Hilali stated that there is no issue with fair criticism, but the language used is wrong.