Search

SC condemns hate speech

The Supreme Court of Pakistan’s short order in the suo motto proceedings over the Faizabad sit-in is a welcome step.
The clerics affiliated with Labbaik Ya Rasoolullah (LYRA) did not just use hate speech but also incited their followers for violent action against the government and state institutions. All of these inflammatory speeches were broadcast without any regard for PEMRA regulations on several TV channels until the regulator took a controversial step and imposed a total blackout of news channels for 26 hours.
The honourable SC justices have stressed that Islam is a religion of peace and employment of abusive language cannot be allowed to advance a political agenda in the guise of an Islamic cause. They have criticised the media for failing to cover the sit-in in a responsible manner. The regulator has been asked to file a comprehensive report on TV coverage of the dharna. For the short order to be effective, the SC must ensure that the regulator’s report leads to punitive action against TV channels whose coverage was in violation of PEMRA rules.
But the question remains whether calling out clerics for their abusive language during the 21-day sit-in is enough? Given the fact that these same clerics were recognised as a legitimate party in the agreement signed with them, how do the authorities plan to prevent similar abusive speeches in future? For effective deterrence, the likes of Khadim Rizvi need to be prosecuted against in accordance with the country’s laws on hate and inflammatory speech. Rizvi and other clerics who have been making a mockery of the country’s laws and constitution by glorifying confessed assassin Mumtaz Qadri, who was declared a terrorist by the Supreme Court itself, do not deserve to be free men until they have been held accountable for their actions.
We can no longer afford to let these hate mongers go with mere warnings. The authorities must know this quite well that these clerics have violated several laws. There is no reason why this recognition should not lead to immediate punitive action in accordance with the due process of the law.
Meanwhile, the authorities must also pay attention to hate speech in the cyberspace. In 2014, online freedom of expression group found in its survey that 91 percent of the respondents had come across hate speech online. These respondents were from the several marginalised communities like Ahmadis, Hindus, Shias, atheists, and gender and sexual minorities.



--!>

Pesco announces power shutdown for different localities

--!>