Browsing "Veena Malik"

A person’s womb and gestation is a private matter, even if that person happens to be Meera!

Of late, I have been visiting the media and communications departments of a few universities and speaking with students about how to sift through the clutter, focus on the news and cut out the irrelevant bits and pieces so that every news item should be crisp, precise and most of all accurate and free of embellishments. 
I have innumerable print and video clips that tell us what NOT to do while writing a report or making a package. Unfortunately, clips that show us good ethical journalism are rare. Try as I may, pieces where the reporter and/or his editor have applied basic critical thinking tools and journalistic ethics are hard to come by. However some reports are so bad they do not even care for a even a minimum degree of professionalism and print slanderous, unsubstantial and at times damaging stories that serve no purpose other than humiliating people and provide salacious fodder for the voyeuristic amongst us. This report about Meera’s alleged abortion by the horrible horrible Jang group is one such example.
For starters, this report is about a very private matter of a woman and should not have been published. Getting an abortion under any circumstances is a private matter and should be dealt as such. But the reporter Shahab Ansari not only reported the incident, he milked it for what it was worth and added other unnecessary detail. For instance, when the doctor told him that the abortion was carried out due to no fetal activity, he chose to speculate if the actress had carried out actions to stop that fetal activity of which he had no proof. Even if it had been true, the matter is private and not open to public debate. You and I and that reporter have no right to determine what a mother should or should not have done. We should NOT be interested in another person’s womb and gestation activity, period.  
He also speculated that Meera wanted to conduct the DNA test of the fetus which obviously is no one’s business but the moron of a reporter had to add this bit to make the news more masalaydaar for lack of a better word.
The doctor at the hospital should be stripped of her medical practice license for divulging all the private details of her patient’s medical history. I request all the Lahori ladies looking for ob/gyn services should boycott Dr Shahida Khawaja and her hospital for breaking the patient doctor confidentiality code. Shame on you Dr Khawaja, shame on you.
The reporter chose to end the report with a veiled threat citing Section 338 of the Pakistan Penal code which basically says that a whoever causes a woman with child whose organs have not been formed, to miscarry is said to cause ‘Isqat-i-Haml’ and is liable to a punishment of a minimum of three years imprisonment if the abortion is performed by the woman’s consent.
We have insulted the life choices of our celebrities many a times, be it Veena Malik’s nude shoot or Shoaib Akhtar’s medical records, giving the reason that the celebrities ask for it by being in the limelight. But what about this incident when it is obvious that Meera is trying hard to keep a personal issue to herself? The reporter not only reported what happened but also speculated to make her come across as a woman of loose morals who has no idea who the father of her unborn baby was. Asking her father-in-law who has been hostile towards her in the past was just adding more masala to an already sordid saga.
If the current lot of journalists resort to the worst form of yellow journalism, no matter what we teach our kids in media schools will be useless because the market tells them that this is the trash that sells. If a market leader with a lot of money like Jang group indulges in this type of sensational and scandalous crap then there is no hope for smaller cash strapped media houses.
Dec 10, 2011 - Veena Malik    27 Comments

Wither professionalism?

I never really wanted to get into the whole Veena Malik debate on my blog, but something happened which made me realize that the issue is far greater than just one person and misogynist pricks are found everywhere; not just in Pakistan. 
I was invited by BBC Asian Network to be part of a radio talk show on the why Veena Malik’s father has disinherited her on December 8th. I agreed to be on the show because it gave me opportunity to be on air with Veena Malik, who I find fascinating at so many levels.
The program started with the host Nihal (he is this really slow presenter who puts his listeners to sleep, I wonder why BBC hired him in the first place but I digress)asking Veena Malik how does she feel about being disinherited. She gave an appropriate response about getting her father to see her point of view eventually. He then took a caller, an army officer called Malik from Islamabad, who first refused to say salam (Muslim greetings) to Veena Malik because he thought of her as a vile disgusting creature who has insulted the her country (Pakistan) and her religion (Islam). He then went on to threaten Veena Malik (well indirectly of course) of dire consequences when she comes back. He also said that if his own daughter would have done something like this, he would have given it to her. This guy was given ample opportunity to engage with Veena Malik and they argued back and forth. As if that was not enough, he was allowed by the presenter to repeatedly insult the guest of the show, something I never expected on a BBC show.
Another female guest was allowed to ask Ms. Malik if she was a Muslim. When she said that yes, she is a Muslim and her religiosity is a private matter between her and her Allah, the caller was also allowed to mock Veena Malik.  
In response to Veena Malik’s argument that she is part of entertainment industry and she will continue to do bold shoots to stay in the business, Presenter Nihal asked her a very pointed and leading question. He asked if Veena Malik is a Muslim and if she is asked to select between her religion and entertainment industry, what will she choose?
Now it was a very inappropriate question to ask in normal circumstances, but considering what has happened earlier this year –Salmaan Taseer’s murder – this kind of insensitivity was mind boggling and unprofessional. When the presenter turned to me to seek my opinion on Veena; I decided to point out his super unprofessional attitude and how his leading question can jeopardize his guest’s life. It was against journalism ethics 101 to put someone on spot and ask them to testify about their religiosity in hypothetical situations. Instead of responding to my objection in an adult and rational manner, Presenter Nihal took it as a personal offence and said something to the effect that he was right in raising that question as her Veena’s dad has already disinherited her. Before I could’ve responded to it, he cut me off and went to another person.
For starters,Veena’s dad disinheriting her does not give the present any right to mock and insult his guest in a manner that can put her life in danger. Secondly, his tone was accusatory when he was speaking with his guest and it was all good, but when a caller presented him with a genuine grievance, he cuts her off. That was real mature of him. Lastly, if he had allowed me to speak, I would have said that there should be some difference between him – a BBC presenter with a first world education – and Veena’s dad who, if I recall correctly, is a retired non commissioned officer in Pakistan army. Veena’s dad’s comments could be waived as something which is said in the heat of moment, but the comments of a supposedly responsible journalist who makes his living by talking to people and about people cannot be ignored that lightly.
Dear BBC, 
I know it was a programme targeted towards the Asian Diaspora in UK and is not for your mainstream audience, but please, make an effort, and hire someone who is at least professional and courteous if not more. 

PS: If you want to listen to it, you can do so for five more days here