Dawn Editorial: Words that wound

Source: Dawn.

THE past few days have seen criticism against content aired on a recent episode of Geo’s Subah-i-Pakistan programme — hosted by Amir Liaquat — in which clerics invited on the show made several unpalatable accusations against the country’s already stigmatised and persecuted Ahmadi community.

Following a show cause notice by Pemra, the channel apologised for its editorial lapse, stating that “In live programmes it is often difficult to control the crowd and the guests who speak their mind”.

Certainly, there are constraints in live programming which have, on earlier occasions too, resulted in hate speech being aired without check. However, there are ways to circumvent these constraints. One is by including a time delay in such programmes and by carefully vetting potential guests.

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Categories: Asia, Free Speech, Freedom

2 replies

  1. European Convention of Human Rights
    I think many of the exceptions for freedom of speech are tackled in the Article 10 of European Convention of Human Rights.
    This Article provides the right to freedom of expression, subject to certain restrictions that are “in accordance with law” and “necessary in a democratic society”. This right includes the freedom to hold opinions, and to receive and impart information and ideas, but allows restrictions for:

    interests of national security
    territorial integrity or public safety
    prevention of disorder or crime
    protection of health or morals
    protection of the reputation or the rights of others
    preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence
    maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary

    We would certainly need the best legal minds humanity can offer to give concrete and legalistic details of the above exceptions that may be acceptable to people of all faiths, ethnicities and nationalities.

    If the Supreme Court Justices do not come to our rescue, may be a good and an accomplished writer can help out with a best selling book. But, the key is to at least, win the moderates, in all the established religions of the world and among the agnostics and atheists.

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