‘Who did your hair and makeup?’ The mockery that was our oath-taking coverage

Published: June 3, 2013
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Newly elected MNAs take oath in Pakistan’s 14th National Assembly. PHOTO: APP

Oath-taking ceremonies are usually boring affairs. A bunch of men and women stand up for the national anthem, take the oath and then go home. This is not exactly amazing material for the media – especially television — which is why most outlets focus on more colourful stories.

Some of these stories make sense, such as quizzing the elected members on their knowledge of the workings of a parliamentary democracy, while others are just as outrageous as the returning officers’ questions, which the same media members were so very critical of.

The segments featuring male members of the various houses focused on their knowledge of topics such as points of order, privilege motions, when the national assembly was founded and so on. Some answers were of sound reasoning, while others made one wonder how these people were going to govern a country, when they could barely comprehend, let alone answer any of the questions.

Unfortunately, those serious segments were followed by fluff pieces focusing on female members, both directly elected and appointed. Instead of focusing on their knowledge of parliament, or how they would help improve the lot of the people of Pakistan, especially its women, the questions focused on their wardrobe. Nail polish, shoes, accessorising, colour blocking, brand names and what not.

For a moment, it seemed as if these were fashion reporters at work on a style channel, but it was actually ‘serious’ journalists on ‘serious’ news channels.

Questions to the tune of

“How long did it take you to get ready”

“Why are you wearing heels”

“Who designed your outfit”

The news desk in Islamabad has had over 20 years of politics-related education and not one of those young minds could comprehend how these questions are relevant to the ability of these women to govern!

Why, pray tell, were the questions not focused on acid crimes, marital rape, adultery, domestic violence, or more broadly, the law and order situation, or other issues they intend to prioritise as public representatives?

Granted, no news channels in Pakistan are serious, but this was ridiculous. What the people want to know is how effective these women will be at governing, not who did their hair and makeup.

Those questions are best left to models and actresses.

Read more by Vaqas here or follow him on Twitter @vasghar

Vaqas Asghar

Vaqas Asghar

The author is a senior sub-editor on the Islamabad Desk and also reports on diplomatic events. He tweets as @vasghar (twitter.com/vasghar)

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

  • http://wannabehappyalways.wordpress.com/ Madhia

    Sad n ironic. No wonder our news is turned into masala gossip nowRecommend

  • Rashida F

    Irresponsible media is among the few main factors that are multiplying our problems. I hope and pray that for once they think about the future of Pakistan rather than their own ratings.Recommend

  • BILAL

    All the channels in Pakistan needs to be taught a lesson of lifetime, Especially GEO who’s people consider themselves above law. Media is adding nothing in developing national harmony, But frustration. its time to check the degree’s of these Journalist now. So are lawyers,

    Lawyers and “irresponsible journalists”” have made the civil society their slaves.Recommend

  • BILAL

    All the channels in Pakistan needs to be taught a lesson of lifetime, Especially GEO who’s people consider themselves above law. Media is adding nothing in developing national harmony, But frustration. its time to check the degree’s of these Journalist now. So are lawyers,

    Lawyers and “irresponsible journalists”” have made the civil society their slaves…Recommend

  • Anonymous

    well written blog. LOL! salute to our sensible media..Recommend

  • Hira

    Lol. Everything in Pakistan works like this. Change the topic aaand problem solved!Recommend

  • Faryal

    Our media needs to be severely reprimanded for their frivolous attitude. If they can’t perform their duty as journalists properly may be they should consider switching over to covering fashion events….there are plenty of those! It seems our country is not only in dire need of better leadership but also better media persons. Highly disappointing.

    How would these media persons feel if their own family members were victims of crime and injustice. Would they still be concentrating on what brands politicians are wearing?Recommend

  • Rashid Ahmed

    The thing is nothing is going right in the life of an average Pakistani, so there was really no harm in adding some humor to the news. The nation needs to be given some medicine of laughter, let them have it paleeeze!!!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Some twenty plus years ago a British diplomat said…… ‘ in the coming years Pakistan will be governed by semi-literate, semi-competent and he should have added fully corrupt leaders ‘. We blame the British for a lot of things but this one they got right.
    Recommend

  • kanwal

    Ours is a sexist society. We never take women seriously in general. When you keep a mindset alive and thriving that teaches that women are “naaqis ul aql” no matter what happens, then thigs like these are bound to happen. Recommend

  • Amrita

    Hardly a surprise in a country where news are accompanied by Bollywood songs Recommend

  • AW

    That’s one of the reasons that I have stopped watching news channels. Fluff is increasing every day and news anchors forget many times that they are supposed to be a logical third party, asking impartial questions to all guests, questions that would provide a beneficial answer for the nation, not actors staging dramas in the name of talk shows and news.Recommend

  • AW

    @Rashid Ahmed:
    If you are sitting on a dirt pile and someone comes and starts tickling you, would it change the fact that you are still sitting on a dirt pile? I guess it depends on your perspective. Mine says I should stop that person and do something serious to get myself out of that dirt.Recommend

  • Amrita

    @Rashid Ahmed: If you want to laugh watch a comedy show or drama, news isn’t supposed to entertain youRecommend

  • Historian 1

    This shows typical mindset of Pakistani men towards women. Mentally men are still not ready to accept that women are capable of working at par with men and in some areas women are even better.Recommend

  • shuja ul islam

    well..at least it was TEZZ..!!Recommend

  • Zain M

    It is shameful to ask personal question to women parlimentarians. Very relevent to ask men and women about the rules and proceedures about the house.

    And can the TV news stopped having bollywood songs, its downright vulgar and cheap !Recommend

  • soniya

    come on dude…why complaint about everything? i don’t find it wrong if the women parliamentarians were dressed up nicely and looked no less then celebrities. every one wants to look good you and myself and everyone. i bet if they came to the parliament with messy hair no make up and ordinary clothes phir bhir sabko takleef honi thi. im not saying that they should present a display of money through their designer bags and accessories but should look pleasant and if media reported this its absolutely fine to give the world a glimpse of modern pleasant to look at politicians to the rest of the world who is only familair with bad things happening in the country. Recommend

  • Asjad

    Had they asked for simpler n pleasing questions, they wouldn’t get a “story” i.e. free publicity in ET (even though you havent taken names).Recommend

  • ADNAN

    Each and every politician in our assembly is corrupt. and i can bet many of them do not know the spellings of the brand which they are wearing but still they want to buy such things so that they can show to other,s that they are superior on them. Recommend

  • Muhammad

    Well…why ask serious questions…..why embarrass the pretty ladies !!Recommend