Stories about ratings

From APS to Sahiwal: Does Pakistani media have an empathy problem?

Humans are not naturally empathetic creatures – a primary reason behind cataclysmic wars, the rise in extra-judicial killings, as well as the growing hostility towards people escaping calamities. As the world spirals into chaos, the ability to consciously acknowledge the condition of individuals undergoing distress and mentally processing their misery has nearly vanished. But then again, did such an ability exist to begin with?  There is a silent conflict between those struck by a persisting crisis and those privileged enough to smoothly slither their way out of it unscathed. Humans are prone to living completely autonomous lives, but it seems ...

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Haiwan: When will our dramas stop misrepresenting rape and child abuse?

While highlighting social taboos and evils through local dramas is a bold initiative that our entertainment industry has been taking for around two years now, it doesn’t always hit the mark. At times, our serials normalise things that ought not to be, sometimes in the wake of ratings and sometimes because the makers want to portray situations as close to reality as possible. Recently, the much-hyped drama serial Haiwan, that kicked off the trend of #MyChildMyResponsibility on social media, concluded on a deeply unsatisfactory note. A drama that was meant to give a strong message of protecting children from the predators that ...

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Bullying 101: We don’t need more angry, aggressive boys – we have enough already

I had conflicted feelings the minute I saw him on screen, despite not being able to pinpoint the exact factors that made it unappealing for me. Even though I tried to watch the video after putting my therapist goggles aside, it still seemed problematic to me. However, as with most things online, I soon forgot about it and moved on. But it did not stop with that single video. A while later, another video of the same child popped up in a similar school setting, with adults apparently enjoying the expression of emotional distress through the child’s tantrums. Who was making these ...

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10 Pakistani dramas from 2015 that everyone should watch

2015 was a year filled with lots of emotions, drama and masala for the Pakistani drama industry. We have a set of directors, actors and producers who have always made much applauded dramas, while on the other hand, we have a pool of artists who are always set to bring out taboo topics and make an impact. The dilemma to decide which of the dramas rightfully made it big due to its content and which were given overrated popularity for the love of cast and locations is still unanswered. I feel this confusion will always start a heated debate within the ...

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Losing our religion one Ramazan transmission at a time

While browsing through channels after iftar yesterday, I realised that my TV screen had been taken over by multiple Ramazan transmissions airing on different (read: every) channel. Although the ‘shows’ have been airing questionable content for some time now, this year they seemed to have taken it up a notch. Previously, such transmissions comprised of learned religious scholars who would discuss Islamic issues and answer audience questions pertaining to religious teaching. This would be followed by a recitation of a naat or a dua, and the transmission would be over by iftar time. No shenanigans, no games, no quizzes – a simple programme on ...

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In 2014, slavery still exists…

Children are beautiful, innocent, simple and sweet. Therefore, they are loved, cajoled, pampered and spoiled. They get special treatment, selected food, quality education, prompt healthcare and extra attention. But this is not true for every child. Not every child is considered beautiful, simple and pure. Some children are born to live as children while others are born to live as slaves. These slave children are neglected and forgotten. They are beaten day in and day out, humiliated and assaulted. They are the waiters, the maids and the mechanics. They are the ones you take one glance at and then look away, because they look ...

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Pakistani dramas: Trade in your jeans and career for some chooridars and a rolling pin

Imagine a scene from a typical Pakistani drama. On one side, we have a shareef (innocent) damsel in distress and a prince charming, who is too busy admiring his good looks to actually use his brains for intellectual purposes. And on the other is the mandatory villain – usually a conniving, evil best friend – who tries her best to create barriers between the couple with hopes that the guy would pick her over the damsel. Since we are all too familiar with the damsel’s fluttering eyelashes and the prince’s flirtatious smiles, let’s focus our attention towards the villain for once. As opposed ...

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Pak-India journalism: Inciting hatred or promoting peace?

Yesterday, at a seminar titled ‘Pakistan-India relations: What can media do?’, Mumbai Press Club’s President Gurbir Singh reportedly urged the Indian as well as Pakistani media to stop airing Television Rating Point (TRP)-grossing talk shows that negatively affect peace prospects between the two nations. This statement comes as a remarkable affirmation of a commitment to peace that needs to be strengthened by the media fraternity on both sides of the border. It comes close on the heels with Kamal Siddiqi’s recent piece titled ‘Talk peace, be damned’, where he laments that war-mongering brings ratings but at the expense of the dividends that ...

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Living on the Edge: it’s entertainment not ethics!

TV is for entertainment, not for preaching. If it is messages on morals that you want, we have schools. So don’t judge a reality show like Living on the Edge from Oprah’s eyes or from an ethical angle; judge a reality show for the entertainment that it provides. Write-ups like Cruelty to animals is not ‘Living on the Edge’ discourage Pakistani initiative; why can’t our people learn to appreciate rather than putting people down all the time? Surprisingly, even the Hindustan Times wrote good things about our show at the launch of Roadies Season 9 while in Pakistan, people are only propagating ...

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PEMRA: What’s vulgar to you is decent to me

Most recently, the apex court has taken notice of the petitions filed by Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed and former Chief of Jamaat-e-Islami against obscenity and vulgarity being broadcast on the electronic media. They requested the regulatory body to make policy guidelines barring TV channels from broadcasting vulgarity. To follow this order PEMRA has taken its first step by defining the word obscenity.  A lot of people have been lashing out at the court but the truth is this wasn’t a suo moto action. There has been a lot of debate over the court’s decision and the new definition. Liberals proclaim that ...

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