by Navirah Zafar Jilani
Television has become the new religion for almost everyone, living anywhere, in this world. This box, now found in many distinct shapes and sizes, has subliminally forced human consciousness to think, eat and act as it says. Taking television as an object would be outrageous. Behind this sleek screen are devils that won’t let humankind think otherwise.
The moment one switches on the tube, waves of eye punching colors and images are bombarded at the eyes of TV fanatics who seem unaware of the effects they create. Media Mongols, at times, show lack of sensibility when they package ideas for the viewing audience. With the arrival of cable stations, Pakistani audience has an array of channels and networks to choose from; ranging from Indian, US, British and Pakistani channels. Apart from this, there also come low class CD channels which further accentuate confusion and struggle for the viewer to understand the self and the surroundings.
TV channels like Star World , MNET, MM1 , MM2, MNET Action, E! (Entertainment), MTV, Channel V and other channels of such league seem to make sex, sensuality, homosexuality, rape, violence, drugs, smoking, vandalism and rebellion part of the normal thinking process. Individuals belonging to the upper strata of society have access to such facilities with which they can satisfy such needs. But what about maids and house keepers who view a combination of violent and obscene images! Where do they go and leash out their desires? It is a known fact that television has become a learning ground for almost everyone who owns a TV set. Now an individual’s frame of reference is not only judged by what he/she learns from the family, friends and school but television as well.
... raised at this point is what was the television actually like? How many channels were available? Naturally the availability of what we ... being able to have these types of channels, pay television services or better known as premium channels are also associated with the advancement ...
When asked about ratings or parental check, people often come up with lame excuses. My concern here is that the channels coming from foreign countries have different time streams; a show airing in America at night is telecast in the early hours of the day in Pakistan because of the time zone difference. So who is supposed to take care of the invisible products created in the minds of Pakistani audience by glamorous, violent and erotic images projected through media? By ‘Pakistani audience’ I mean innocent children, teenagers, housewives and uneducated house keepers; just to name a few.
The operation of television channels and cable operators is generally regulated by government authorities, who set a basic platform for channels and cable stations to conduct their working in a legalised manner. In Asia, many countries have strict rules and regulations which are stringently followed by the concerned parties. The Supreme Court of India is particular about the laws and policies laid down regarding public and private segments of Indian broadcast.
In Pakistan, Pakistan Electronic media regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has the authority to make new regulations by itself. It also has the authority to seize broadcast/ distribution equipment or to seal premises that are operating “illegally.”
PEMRA, on various occasions, has blocked the transmission of many news channels for not supporting the government’s standpoint. This regulatory authority, responsible to control country’s audiovisual industry, wakes up mostly when there is a dire need to rectify news channels as per the government’s orders. Apart from that, what comes on television has no check and balance. No program in the history of Pakistani television industry has ever been rated. Furthermore there are no time limitations for sitcoms, music shows, game shows, comedy, reality TV and hard core dramas.
In most of such cases ,the government of Pakistan appears to act as a puppeteer that uses PEMRA as a prop, controlling whenever and whatever they feel fit. Hammad Ghaznavi, a respected media personality, relates an interesting and thought provoking incident. He narrates that when PTV Prime started going on air in England, Sky News warned the authorities regarding a promo in which a slap was telecast. A warning to terminate the channel was given in case the scene is not removed from the promo. It is noteworthy that Sky News felt a ‘slap’ being shown on television inappropriate for naive minds and our regulatory authorities appear blind and deaf to all that is being shown on our TV sets day and night.
Addicted to Television The temptations that can disrupt human life are often caused by pure indulgences. That which we most desire may ultimately harm and destroy us. For example, no one has to drink alcohol. Realizing when a diversion has gotten out of control, such as alcohol, is one of the greatest challenges of life. These excessive cravings do not necessarily involve physical substances. ...
Highlighted in Shrish Nadka’s article, Dismay Greeted New India Broadcast Bill (2006) , Ashok Mansukhani, Director Hinduja Group and President of the MSO ( Multi System Operators) Alliance said, “The term ‘broadcasting’ is outdated and, perhaps, we need to take a cue from Pakistan which already has an electronic media regulatory authority, PEMRA”. I Hope it’s just the cue regarding the name that is taken into consideration, not the working of the authority.
In order to control this demon, there are certain rules and regulations on which organizations work. In America, the broadcast television is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Licenses are awarded to local stations which specify commitment to public and educational programming. FCC also prohibits the airing of ‘indecent’ material on air between 6 am and 10 pm. Although legal broadcast stations can air anything they want late at night and cable television can show anything round the clock, nudity and profanity is rarely seen in American Television.
Freedom of expression is appreciated all over but the ethics of working should remain intact. Promoting violence and profanity on prime time is not entertainment but mere advertising and money making. PEMRA, acting as the sole authority controlling Pakistani media, has the manpower and resources to implement or shutdown channels and cable stations. It’s time they turn their attention to the prime time television. Starting off with program rating which would control the content being viewed, allotting appropriate time slots to programs and having guidelines for parents to control on air programs can yield fruitful results.
Once upon a time in the Golden Age of television, networks deferred to their own in-house offices of standards, which kept profanity, questionable morals, and salacious behavior off the airwaves. Today s standard- free TV shows are obsessed with sex and it is very obvious to even the most casual viewer. This paper will discuss in depth, where all of this sex stuff started and how bad it s really ...