No IPL cheerleaders for hypocrites

Published: May 31, 2012
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They showcase their hard worked routines at the fall of a wicket, a boundary or sometimes, just for the heck of it and blow kisses into the camera. PHOTO: AFP

IPL never appealed to me as a concept; I pretty much perceived it as a cheap rip off of the English Premier League. As it happened, I watched an innings in which both Chris Gayle and A B De Villiers were on the field and, well, I got hooked.

With time the awareness sunk in that IPL was nothing like EPL. The recent off-field drama has brought IPL into the lime light much more than the on-field performances. These include antics from Bollywood superstars along with allegations of spot fixing.

With all the glamour and dazzle of the IPL, it is only natural that skimpily clad women be imported and placed at the edge of the boundary line to ‘shake it’ when required. Around the globe, major sporting events can rarely go without female objectification. IPL cheerleaders have been a source of much debate and speculation. They showcase their hard worked routines at the fall of a wicket, a boundary or sometimes, just for the heck of it and blow kisses into the camera. Sometimes, a brave anchor will instigate a show down between cheerleaders of two sides, assuming they are on the set of a Hollywood movie like “Step-up 2”.

It was only a matter of time before a certain television network in Pakistan took notice of these women prancing lewdly on screen and decided it was not fit for audiences to view such scandalous things. They took it upon their hands to rectify this issue.

They devised a time-tested – and might I say extremely successful – policy for Pakistan Television Network (PTV) to invoke the censorship clause. Now, instead of watching the game, we got to view a colourful display plastering IPL on the screen. After a couple of weeks of censoring cricketing shots, players, cheering crowds, replays and yes, also the cheerleaders the censor guys finally discovered when to bring up the IPL censor sign. After many hit and miss runs, the guys in the control room managed to synchronise the censoring with the cheerleaders.

Well done, credit should be given where deserved!

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the censor board filling out my TV screen, but I find it highly hypocritical that the same TV network which broadcasts these matches goes on and displays the most lewd Bollywood songs on its prime time news hours. Song and dance is considered to be more important that the unrest in Syria or even the Egyptian revolution.

You will often find Katrina Kaif and Kareena Kapoor in the bawdiest dances on screen along with equally suggestive advertisements. To allow this is perfectly acceptable, but IPL cheerleaders are completely unpalatable?

What hypocrisy.

This poses the question of why there is this dichotomy in the media and who gets to decide what is fit for viewership and what is not. I, for one, find it very difficult to keep preparing myself mentally about what is appropriate to watch on screen and what isn’t.

This censorship policy screams out the legacy of our esteemed leader, General Ziaul Haq and needs to be critically reviewed.

Also, as a staunch believer in gender equality, I believe that showing skimpily clad men should also be banned, especially the wrestlers. Why should our female counterparts be exposed to such indecency when men are not allowed the same?

It is high time for Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to develop a consistent guideline on what is ‘decent’ and allowable to be aired and what is not. This should be practised across the board.

The policies that are developed should be consistent with the socio-economic setup of the country, yet at the same time they should not encourage intolerance. As it is, there is a dire need for liberal speech and expression in the country and state control generally results in failure, as  past experiences of illegal satellite dishes and cable have shown.

Follow Jawad on Twitter @JawadRehman4

Jawad Rehman

Jawad Rehman

Is a young opinionated person who has acquired training in economics and has an interest in politics, cricket, food and development. He tweets @JawadRehman4

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.