Freedom to slander is over? | Pakistan Today

Freedom to slander is over?

With all the news stories that the Chief Justice is taking notice of, it would do him well to take notice of one form the UK. Though it is a British matter, it is nonetheless a terrible comment on the state of affairs of the Pakistani judicial system.

In a public notice issued on Saturday, Carter-Ruck Solicitors in London said that Justice Nicklin in the London High Court approved a consent order resolving a claim on terms that ARY Network Ltd in which the group agreed to pay Mian Mohammad Mansha “substantial damages of £75,000 and agreed legal costs of £200,000.”

The issue: a program Kub Tak on ARY had made some allegations against Pakistani mogul Mian Mansha and the British media regulator Ofcom  (their version of Pemra) was approached by Mansha’s counsel.

This is not a first. In 2016, ARY was ordered to pay up £185,000 for allegations against Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, owner of the Jang Group in Pakistan. Ofcom had also ruled against the channel in favour of Zia-ud-Din Yousafzai. Also a former government minister Barjees Tahir, who had been accused of corruption by the channel.

This was an efficient way to solve problems. Were one to approach the Pakistani courts, it could take up to 20 years to get a verdict. And amounts payable would be paltry as well.

The UK has a lucrative market of over 1.7 million Pakistanis. All channels want a piece of that pie, specially since the programming has already been produced for Pakistani broadcasts. It’s a lot of money. But, of course, the broadcasts themselves are subject to British libel and slander laws.

A poisoned chalice.

The Dependent

The above piece is a work of satire and does not present itself as the truth.