Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) government in the centre recently approved the formation of a new regulatory body, known as the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (PMRA). From now, all media, including print, electronic and social, will be simultaneously regulated by this newly established body. Organisations such as the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), and the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) have already disapproved of the formation of the PMRA and have cautioned against it, terming it an attack on the freedom of press and expression. The PFUJ categorically rejected the PMRA and termed it ...Read Full Post
The performing arts are considered a tool for providing entertainment, relaxation and catharsis to society. Before the invention of the television, stage dramas, dancing and poetry were all important mediums in people’s lives, showing just how necessary entertainment is for us. Pakistan’s first official TV channel was launched in 1964, and we soon saw the rise of our drama industry with classic plays like Ankahi, Waris and Tanhaiyaan. However, after General Ziaul Haq’s martial law and the subsequent Islamisation of society, the entertainment industry was not spared either. As a result, the film industry gradually vanished and dramas became more ...Read Full Post
Pakistani dramas are romanticising rape and brothels but saying the word “talaaq” is the real problem?
Since our movie industry is still in its revival stage, Pakistani dramas have been at the core of our entertainment business. Whether they are our classics like Ankahi and Tanhaiyaan, which to date are fondly remembered, or the dramas loved by the masses in recent years, such as Humsafar and Yaqeen Ka Safar. However, as much as we love our dramas, there are plenty of subgenres that cause sheer cringe moments when viewed on national television. Recently, Malik Taimoor, a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA from Rawalpindi, submitted a resolution to the Punjab Assembly. He believes the word ‘talaaq’ (divorce) is ...Read Full Post
Can Baaghi aptly and fairly portray the layered, complicated and uncovered truths of Qandeel Baloch’s life and death?
The year 1994 saw the release of the biographical film, Bandit Queen, based on the life and times of India’s famous dacoit who went by the name of Phoolan Devi. The director and producer of the film proudly claimed it to be a ‘true story’. However, it was only a matter of time before critical acclaim and raving reviews started pouring in from all quarters. It was then that the Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy picked bones with the movie. She said that making such a movie was trespassing of the vilest degree. Devi was alive when the film was released and yet she was ...Read Full Post
Freedom of speech is defined as “the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint”. Seems simple enough but caught between the war between the liberals and conservatives in Pakistan – two words which mean entirely something else here – it is more about making a chutney out of it or a yoyo or rather a squishy ball that can be thrown at anyone’s face to win any argument. A certain TV show anchor/religious scholar/ Ghalib movie fan/ two-week PHD prodigy/ game show host/mango seller/actor was taken off air by PEMRA after numerous complaints were made. On his show, he ...Read Full Post
In my living memory, I have seen many years in which Pakistan faced terrible setbacks. Memories of 2007, when former President General (Retired) Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency and then Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, are still fresh in my mind. Likewise, all of us have neither forgotten nor forgiven what happened on December 16, 2014, a day which will continue to live in our collective memories. As this year comes to an end, let’s recap what the year had to offer. There were highs and there were lows, but unfortunately, the latter outweigh the former and by a considerable margin. There ...Read Full Post
Last Monday, a young writer by the name of Ahsan Mehmood wrote a hypothetical letter from Adnan Sami Khan’s (ASK) deceased father to his son for a newsblog called The Weekly Pakistan. The letter was written in response to a tweet from Adnan in which he congratulated the Indian armed forces and PM Modi on a “successful surgical strike against terror”. Big Congratulations to @PMOIndia & our brave Armed forces for a brilliant, successful & mature strategic strike against #terrorism ! #Salute — Adnan Sami (@AdnanSamiLive) September 29, 2016 The letter essentially consisted of the father, a decorated PAF officer, talking about ...Read Full Post
On Thursday, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) “took notice” of the telecasting of “provocative” content by NEO TV and 92 News targeting the Ahmadi community. It released a statement to the effect that the complaint had been forwarded to its Council of Complaints and the television channels had been notified. This is a commendable action by the media watchdog and one hopes that the “notice” will be followed by stern action. PEMRA has a reasonable 24-point code on what constitutes hate speech which it has not effectively implemented in the past. It is time it started doing so. To provide some background, NEO TV, in its program Harf-e-Raz and Channel 92 in its show Subh-e-Noor had both telecast content that branded Ahmadi’s as “traitors to ...Read Full Post
Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority – or PEMRA as we know it – is the body that aims to regulate and monitor content released in Pakistan on television and broadcasting networks. This is their mandate: 1. Improve the standards of information, education and entertainment; 2. Enlarge the choice available to the people of Pakistan in the media for news, current affairs, religious knowledge, art, culture, science, technology, economic development, social sector concerns, music, sports, drama and other subjects of public and national interest; 3. Facilitate the devolution of responsibility and power to the grass roots by improving the access of the people to ...Read Full Post
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) latest directive – asking Aaj News to apologise for airing ‘controversial’ and ‘sectarian’ views during a Ramazan transmission reeks of nothing but double standards. Many have argued that Hamza Ali Abbasi’s bold step towards stirring, much needed, dialogue regarding the plight of Ahmadis and the demagogic blasphemy laws was bound to have serious repercussions. And they weren’t wrong. Mere hours later, Shabbir Abu Talib and Kokab Noorani openly declared Abbasi’s discussion an act of ‘treason’. On national television. Consequently, PEMRA, believing itself to be the sacrosanct upholder of morals banned both shows for indulging in provocative, non-serious and irresponsible conversations on television during the ...Read Full Post