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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Why was Maryam Nawaz interview stopped?

The government must strike a balance between the new policy of not allowing television time to those convicted or on trial and the fundamental right of freedom of expression.

News Desk |

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s interview with Hum News’ Nadeem Malik was pulled off air “forcefully” a few minutes after the broadcast, tweeted Nadeem Malik. “Just came to know Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s interview has been stopped forcefully just [a] few minutes after it started live,” said Malik in a statement.


Later on, the TV channel clarified that it believes in freedom of expression. However, it always stands for the respect and dignity of the courts. According to a statement issued by the TV channel the media house considers protecting freedom of expression as one of their “core values”.

“Hum News believes in a free and responsible media, at the same time, we stand for the respect and dignity of [the] judiciary in line with our ethical values and the constitution,” it added.

It is important to note that the federal cabinet on Tuesday decided to block media coverage and interviews of politicians who are convicts or under-trial prisoners and directed the Pakistan Electronic Media Regula­tory Authority (Pemra) to fulfill its “responsibility” to discourage airing of such programs by electronic media.

Read more: Zardari’s Interview taken down: Can he even appear on National TV?

The controversy broke up after the interview of former President Asif Ali Zardari, who is currently under the custody of NAB, was not allowed to go on air on Geo News. Some journalists and commentators claimed it was the violation of set rules and a slap in the face of freedom of expression in the country. Hamid Mir, the host of capital show, commented that “we are not living in a free country”.

The government is reportedly of the view that the production orders of Mr Zardari were issued only to enable him to attend the assembly session and not for giving any interview to ‘undermine’ the judiciary and trial court.

Maryam Nawaz was convicted and awarded 7 years imprisonment by the accountability judge in Avenfield reference filed by the NAB.

It was widely being discussed across the country whether those convicted or under-trial should be given airtime on national TV to comment on the case and slam the courts or NAB. A petition has already been filed before the Supreme Court of Pakistan challenging the production orders of the arrested members of the National Assembly.

Reports suggest that the petitioner has challenged the production orders of opposition leaders and politicians arrested over corruption allegations while arguing that such orders can’t be issued when the accused is under physical remand of law enforcement. The appeal further entailed that the production orders were a systematic order which can’t be seen in isolation from court orders.

Read more: Maryam Nawaz demands PM Khan’s Resignation

Maryam Nawaz was convicted and awarded 7 years imprisonment by the accountability judge in Avenfield reference filed by the NAB. Later on the IHC, released Maryam and her husband on bail. Now the case is pending before the IHC and Maryam is on bail. Many legal experts believe that the former first daughter is misusing the relief given to her by the court and trying to influence the judicial proceedings. Therefore, banning her interview in which she slams the superior courts is legally justifiable for the incumbent government.