Open debate, criticism better than legal restrictions
An application has been filed to intervene in a petition seeking to restrict transmission of the hit drama serial Meray Paas Tum Ho. The application argues that the petition violates rights to speech and expression.
It says that an open debate and criticism are better options than legal restrictions. The application has been filed on behalf of journalist Women’s Action Forum member Farieha Aziz by her lawyer Sara Malkani.
The petition was heard before a divisional bench headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar on Tuesday.
.@saramalkani & I have filed an application intervening in case seeking to restrict transmission of drama MPTH arguing petition violates rights to speech & expression. Open debate & criticism rather than legal restrictions better option.
Application here: https://t.co/84XxdgaCPv pic.twitter.com/W21YQc0Q6r
— Farieha Aziz (@FariehaAziz) March 17, 2020
In the application, Aziz argued that the relief sought in the case violated the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression granted by the constitution of Pakistan. “Political and social morality is more likely to advance through free expression of ideas rather than the use of legal measures to stifle speech,” it read.
Aziz, in her application, said that the portrayal of women in Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar’s script was offensive but she recognised that to “prohibit speech and expression on the grounds that it insults or offends is contrary to the spirit of fundamental rights”.
According to the application, competing sentiments, perspectives and points of view must be permitted in a democratic society.
“Speech that promotes discriminatory views and stereotypes should be countered and discouraged through open debate and criticism rather than legal restrictions that pose the risk of undercutting the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression,” it read.
The TV show’s finale was screened in cinemas and aired on televisions across the country on January 25. The show had nation divided. While many loved the show and cast, others claimed that the script was misogynistic.
In Karachi and Lahore, several individuals filed petitions against airing the shows last episode as it created a bad image of women in society.
The show starred Humayun Saeed as Danish, Ayeza Khan as Mehwish and Adnan Siddiqui as Shehwar.