In Pakistan we start putting barriers between gender at an early age. Kids are told that there are certain things boys can do and certain things girls can. How can I say this? Well its because I have aÂ daughterÂ and a son who go to two different highly acclaimed schools in Karachi and come back to me with genderÂ specificÂ questions they must be hearing in the conversation around them.
See what I did there? I made a sort of a generalization and then backed it up with an instance experienced by me personally as a dad thus lending it some array of credibility. This is the least one should expect from any voice which has a national audience. However one look at the video embedded above will show you that our morning show hosts have not just thrown any integrity out of the window but have stooped to doing anything for ratings, screw credibility.
Why is it that we must assume that a man and a woman sitting on a bench in a park are doing something immoral? Why is sin the first thing that comes to our mind whenÂ witnessingÂ anything like this. How can breakfast shows that rampantly show quite vulgar dance and mehndi numbers regularly, suddenly be the upholders of moral purity on entering a park? What about privacy and the rights of a pakistani citizen as promised by the state? What is the purpose behind shows like this, is it to get a fatwa or a honor killing?
These are some of the hard questions people should be asking of the main stream media in our country when it engages in gross violation of public privacy shown on the video above. In fact a firestorm should have ensued a long time ago at some of the filth our media is showing us! From mangled body parts to cybercafe raids (remember that one?) we are being subjected to a dose of anything goes as long as we can watch it.
We should also then take one long hard look in the mirror and ask ourÂ own selvesÂ why do we stay silent when stuff like this happens. Where will it stop? Will we only speak up when they put cameras on our bedroom windows?
The best way to approach something like this as someone educated ( I am assuming you are since you are reading this) is to write, not only to sponsors (meaning brands advertising) on shows we find offensive and theÂ managementÂ of channels hosting these shows themselves. If that does not deter them then civil society should stop molly coddling about and hold a demo outside a tv channel once in a while, the press club is kind of on a full schedule.
If we as a society do not respect the members in it, as people who can do what they want with their own free will and staying within boundaries of decency we have no right to claim ourselves as a society. If this is what we enjoy watching then we are just a mob around an accident. Please note even if boundaries of decency are crossed, we do still have a police force andÂ particularÂ laws on these matters to be enforced by a very active judiciary. No media organization has the right to act as a parallel system of justice in this nation.
We the viewers have to put our foot down at some point and I think the point has been reached some time ago. We have to start dictating what we wish to see rather than inhaling what they want us to see about Pakistan. We have to make sure ourÂ mainstreamÂ media lives up to the power and responsibility we have given it rather than the ambulance chasing it is doing now.