The Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued a statement concluding that it is crucial to prevent the restriction placed on the press and the countries restricted freedom of speech consequently suffers economically.
Athar Minallah, Chief Justice of IHC said on Friday, “Freedom of expression is extremely important. A country where freedom of expression is suppressed remains economically backward. The court has written in an earlier order that there should not even be an impression of a restriction on the freedom of the press.”
The statement came when the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) brought the lawsuit filed against Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) against the introduction of the new law stating the Restriction and Censorship of Illegal Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules 2020.
On behalf of the PUFJ, Barrister Jahangir Jadoon appeared in court and asserted that the laws on social media had been questioned in compliance with the Constitution.
He told, “Instead of consulting with the stakeholders, the PTA made the rules and presented them in the court. These rules are unconstitutional and should be repealed immediately.”
Syed Tayyab Shah, Deputy Attorney General maintained during the hearing that Deputy Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan wants to appear in court to present his case. He demanded that the court ought to provide him sufficient time.
The judge told, “This is public interest litigation. Rules have been broadened to such a degree that there is a chance of their misuse even in case of criticism against a government servant. Article 19 and 19-A of the Constitution cannot be violated.”
The court noted that for a constructive conversation all stakeholders should be provided with laws and regulations.