ANOTHER Ramazan passed with television screens filled up with stuff that can only be called rubbish. Throughout the year, the Muslim community eagerly waits for this month to fast and pray, whereas for TV channels in Pakistan, it is time for a massive money-making drive. All TV channels struggle to compete and beat their rivals in terms of having the biggest Ramazan transmissions for the highest ratings by inviting the most popular celebrities. While some channels hold ‘game shows’ that are specific to Ramazan, some have scholars and celebrities sitting around, discussing a variety of teachings and issues.

Considering the Covid situation around the world, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) had banned the participation of a live audience in these transmissions. However, the channels, instead of cancelling the transmissions, came up with a new plan, with celebrities gracing the production sets with their presence and playing games and doing a variety of things on live TV.

As far as these transmissions were concerned, coronavirus did not matter one bit. The celebrities were averse to the idea of wearing masks or keeping a safe social distance. For productions as big as the Ramazan transmissions, there is a whole team of spot boys, cameramen and people running the show behind the curtains. These transmissions were actually one of the biggest efforts against Covid-related SOPs in the country.

They did not send out the right message to a nation that is already in partial denial of the presence of a highly contagious pandemic.

Syeda Rabia Hasan
Karachi

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THE quality of content on local television channels was pathetic during Ramazan. One of the most prominent local TV channels was busy creating sectarian rifts, while others turned the Ramazan transmissions into a circus as they always do. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) should take strict notice of the transmission of such content and penalise everyone involved. This may give us some hope that the Ramazan transmission would be more appropriate next year.

Waqas Akber
Tando Jam

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2021

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