Stories about television

Do-gooder television: What’s the real agenda?

Television is a deliciously dirty business. Producers come up with innovative new ways to rehash the same old stories – and if they do it well audiences get hooked. In Pakistan television programming has largely been a familiar mash up of breaking news, high gloss drama and below the belt humour – until now. Earlier this month former movie producer Rashid Khwaja (Very Good Dunya Very Bad Log) launched a new Pakistani channel with an unusual USP. The oh-so-creatively named ‘A-plus’ claims to have a ‘socially responsible’ line-up of programming. It has been airing reality shows which claim to contribute something of ‘value’ to ...

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Adventures in Oslo: Part 2

My gorgeous red Jafferjees handbag (yes, the one that makes me drool) containing passports, my ID card, tickets, wallet, credit cards and all my money was stolen in Oslo this afternoon and my travel insurance does not cover loss of passport or personal items. Other than that rather unfortunate incident at the Oslo Town Hall, it was a very interesting start to the trip. Angels in Norway Mudassir’s suitcase still hadn’t arrived at breakfast so no mics or tapes. We munched through our salmon and smoked mackerel and heaps of cheese and tried to figure out what to do. Just then Carsten, ...

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ED 202: For a few more soundbytes

A lot of what is being written and said in the media based on reports by correspondents, columnists and by public comments on who or what was responsible for the Airblue crash makes sense. One or more of the causes being pointed to may be the actual cause of the accident. However, no one but those with full access to complete information and data should be commenting at this stage – no one else. We all make the mistake of speculating based on our own experience, knowledge and sense. But we must realise that this is the time where vested interests profit. Many times a ...

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Selling the idea of ‘family’

If we look around us, we see a lot more working women, some single parent families, many grandparents raising children, but advertising is still shying away from reality. So why still this fascination with the stereotypical portrayal of family in advertising when the reality is that life is fast changing? The big question is: does this fascination with old fashioned families in advertising really work?  Women in traditional domestic roles? Joint families? I raise this question in the context of the social break down of the traditional family values, structures and systems that are so visible all around us.  We see modernism ...

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Media is not a monster

It has become a custom to condemn the media. An unfair one if you ask me. I have worked for a news channel for almost three years now. Like any other institution, we have our flaws, but we have our strengths, mostly left unacknowledged. We have become connoisseurs of disparagement and misers when it comes to rewarding. Thank god we have the media to keep tabs on politicians, bureaucrats, policymakers etc. There is almost no decision made in the Prime Minister house now without the media involved. Almost every decision that is made by the government comes down to how ...

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Government Bashing: All About Ratings?

Is the Pakistani media too critical of its government? The Wall Street Journal shed light on the issue in a recently published article on the controversial content on our news channels. And with a title like “In Pakistan, Criticism of the President is Good for TV Ratings,” its not hard to see whose side the WSJ is taking. The article takes a swipe at local news anchors, accusing them of using anti-government rhetoric to raise their ratings, and spreading “rumors that  Washington and India are acting secretly to take over Pakistan and are fighting Islam”, using the example of Jihadist ...

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