The whole trend of morning shows in Pakistan started after Nadia Khan hosted a morning show on ARY that attained immense fame in a very short span of time. Her show encompassed intellectuality with a touch of realism, which inspired other channels to introduce similar shows soon after.
Nowadays, Pakistani households have a large list of morning shows to choose from as soon as the clock strikes 9am. Many housewives actually resort to these as the sole entertainment for the day.
However, it seems as though these programs do not realize is that with time not only have they become commercialized but also extremely absurd. The race for increased ratings has compelled morning shows to try everything under the sun in order to attract and retain viewers, resulting in a drastic drop of media standards.
Gone are the days when intellectuals such as Anwar Maqsood, Bushra Ansari, and Moin Akhtar would host shows (comical, even) that would make the viewer think with the brain God gave them. Whatever happened to those golden days of media, where quality was ranked higher than ratings?
Most morning shows nowadays kick start with either a horribly choreographed dance routine or silly chatter regarding marriage and aunties. It is ironic how the media has very conveniently forgotten the power it has; instead of inculcating in the people a notion of civil rights and duties, talking about intellectual fields of thought or any such, it focuses mostly on getting as many ratings as possible, regardless of the low standard of production.
Lately there has been a landslide of wedding celebrations, especially during morning shows. While the aspect of Pakistani tradition being broadcasted is certainly one filled with happiness, it is also extremely unreal.
Talk show hosts should realize that not everyone can afford an exorbitantly priced designer dress and jewels, not to mention the numerous expensive gifts they continuously stress are the “right” of the newlywed couple.
As the economic gap between the middle class and the elite widens (let’s not even bother to put the lower social strata into the equation here), such morning shows only inculcate a desire for materialist things and ultimately create resentment, which are so far from what our faith teaches us.
Why not teach them to enjoy happiness instead of riches? Why not talk about simplicity, love and mutual respect between the couple rather than who has given the fattest dowry to whom?
One such talk show that I happened to land while flicking through channels one morning was being hosted by a popular doctor-by-profession-turned-host, who was so distracted throughout the show that she had no idea what was going on. The mother and daughter duo that had arrived as part of the script were talking about the most nonsensical topics under the sun, with nothing remotely do to with any intellectual improvements aimed at the audience.
Why teach young girls that their whole lives revolve around only that one special day: to nab a man and get married? Why not tell them about their rights, teach them to stand up for what they believe in – and teach them to be independent and work? It is no wonder Pakistan is heading backwards.
The media – yes, even the morning shows – needs to realize the important part it plays in shaping the lives of so many people and how strongly it influences society as a whole.
Saira Malik, a home maker, was asked about her opinion regarding today’s morning shows: “I feel awful that our seasoned artists are making fools of themselves by participating in this circus. The only time I ever liked and watched regularly these morning shows was when Nadia Khan started them, way back in 2003 I think. Those shows had a purpose. There were respectable professionals and experts invited and there was a subject discussed thoroughly. The filler segments like cooking and work out were fun. Those were shows we could relate with.”
Humaima, a working woman also commented on the shows of today: “What are these shows teaching us? Television shows are about giving useful, intellectual information; they are about teaching the audience something positive to take with them. Earlier, morning shows used to be interesting because they used to discuss important topics worth discussing, such as how women can protect themselves against rape and abuse, about new trends and places to visit, they talked about the positives in Pakistan – what are they teaching us now? The only thing they talk about are the negatives in Pakistan (and trust me, the positives outweigh the negatives by an insane majority) and about silly weddings that most people cannot even afford.”
She further added that if such shows were so focused on weddings, they should be genuine and not fake. “They could show particular seasons twice a year, for example, focusing on people who cannot afford to get married who can be helped.”
So how about, the next time there’s a morning show, instead of focusing on pointless wedding galore, we learn about the lives of girls after they get married? About the increase in the rate of khula? About acid attacks and honour killings that take place at the hands of husbands and husbands to be? About child abuse and maybe even civic rights and duties?
These are the topics our society is sorely in need of discussing, not the pointless dancing and giggling that is as fake as it is sickening to behold.