The apex court of Peshawar has advised TV channels to follow ethical principals when reporting any terrorism-related news. Peshawar High Court observed that TV channels were reporting shocking and gruesome photos and videos after such incidents. The court told that disturbing photos/videos shouldn’t be telecasted by media houses.
In this regard, the high court ordered Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to formulate regulations to control such reporting. The court further directed media reporters not to visit hospitals as it interferes with the treatment of victims.
Justice Qaiser Rashid and Justice Musarrat Hilali heard the petition filed by senior lawyer Muhammad Khurshid Khan and issued the orders.
The lawyer told the court that due to the extensive presence of reporters in the hospitals, politicians visited the hospitals for “photoshoots and speeches”. The presence of politicians and their workers hampered the process of rehabilitation and treatment of victims.
The lawyer further added that due to VIPs’ visits several roads leading to hospitals are blocked. This causes problems for doctors and relatives of victims who are visiting the hospital.
Additional Advocate General Qaiser Ali Shah was of the view that visits by VIPs ensured that hospitals were doing their best to treat such victims. Justice Qaiser responded that hospital authorities, including doctors, shift their focus to VIPs and hence the treatment of victims is compromised.
The court also listened to the point of view of journalists before issuing orders. Peshawar Press Club’s General Secretary told the court that by reporting such events they didn’t mean to hamper anyone’s work. He further ensured that orders of the court will be respected.
In the end, the court ordered that PEMRA should formulate laws for coverage of terrorism-related activities and their aftermath while keeping viewer’s discretion in mind.