Journalists protest selective coverage

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was given a send-off on Wednesday with fireworks though the fiery farewell was different from the one expected.
On the CJ’s last day, the environs of the Supreme Court witnessed another protest against the judiciary.

However, the protesters were not lawyers or unhappy petitioners but angry reporters who were upset at what they saw as discriminatory attitude of the Supreme Court.
Their hours long protest ensured that the CJ’s last day and his farewell dinner passed in unpleasantness instead of pleasantry. Ordinarily it would have looked frivolous but not in the cut-throat competition for ratings among commercial TV networks.

Television cameras are usually not allowed inside a courtroom, but Wednesday was an exception. During the full-court reference for the outgoing chief justice which was held in the packed to capacity Courtroom No. 1, a television camera was spotted at the gallery of the courtroom recording the entire event.

After the reference, journalists including the print media representatives rushed to the ceremony hall of the apex court to have a chat with the chief justice, judges and members of the bar.
In the meanwhile, a reporter of a particular channel managed to get the television feed and aired the same through the DSNG van parked in the parking lot of the Supreme Court.
This infuriated reporters of other TV channels who accused the court administration of favouritism and discrimination against them.

Even personal secretary to the chief justice failed to dampen the tempers despite assurance that the Supreme Court registrar has ordered an immediate inquiry into the matter.
The registrar told Dawn that the camera was arranged by the court for the coverage of the full court proceedings.

Later, a meeting of the Press Association of the Supreme Court decided to boycott the dinner being hosted by the Supreme Court for the outgoing chief justice.

President of the Supreme Court Bar Association Kamran Murtaza also came along with other members of the SCBA to express solidarity with journalists.

When approached, the reporter who managed to get the footage said that it was a right of every journalist to do an exclusive work.



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