LHC Refuses Media Bar Over Fake Degrees
A MEMBER of the Punjab Assembly, facing a fake degree case in court, made another attempt on Monday to launch a vilification campaign against the media when his lawyer sought a restraining order from Lahore High Court Judge Justice Sh Azmat Saeed against media, saying his client was facing a media trial.
Malik Iqbal Langrial, who had won election from PP-226, Chichawatni, on a PML-Q ticket, is contesting an election petition moved against him by Saifur Rehman of the PML-N, a defeated candidate from the same constituency.
As proceedings started on Monday, Langrial’s counsel started spewing venom against media persons, saying they were unnecessarily dragging the issue and his client was being presented as a cheat.
The judge, however, turned down his plea, saying that Article 19-A inserted through 18th Amendment, provided protection to the access to information. He said that if someone had any complaints about misreporting, he could take a legal course against that reporter and newspaper. The judge made it clear that it was media persons’ right to report court proceedings with precision.
“Even human error could be overlooked. But a deliberate attempt to tarnish image of a person, is an offence and victim could initiate legal proceedings,” Justice Saeed said, adding that the respondent’s lawyer was perhaps complaining against the media reports on Higher Education Commission which was verifying degrees of all parliamentarians.
“If the HEC’s reports are true then there is no harm in its publication. The media could face music only if it is publishing news contrary to the HEC’s reports,” the judge further remarked. As far as case proceedings are concerned, the court directed the respondent MPA to produce witnesses before the local commission for recording evidence on July 23. The court will resume proceedings on July 24.