PTV is no shining example of stellar journalism. Its no BBC, heck its no where near even an American network. While legally speaking it is supposed to be a public channel, PTV has often functioned as little more than a government mouthpiece.
In the days before the electronic media bubble it was the only game in town and governments exploited this fact to the hilt. In the days of the lawyers movement the Musharraf regime used PTV to counter an increasingly hostile media narrative with the likes of Ahmed Qureshi and eventually Musharraf’s own evening talk-show from Awan-e-Sadar.
So you almost have to give credit to this PPP government for allowing fashion designer Maria B. to promote her “Wake Up Pakistan” movement on the show Meena Bazar.
I say *almost* for two reasons:
1) PTV is still no where near a public channel (like the BBC / PBS / NPR)
2) Maria B. is an enemy of democracy.
Maria B. is one of the latest in a line of celebrities (including Ali Azmat and Shahzad Roy) that have become a part of the Zaid Hamid cult.
Zaid Hamid is a vocal opponent of democracy, and in his “Economic Terrorism” series alleges that democracy is a “Jewish plot” to control the world by proxy. While this general opposition to democracy should make the airwaves inaccessible to Zaid Hamid even for a public channel; things being as they are, it is surprising that his particularly rapid opposition to the PPP is also being ignored!
Now, Im not proponent of censorship. I think that even with the flawed version of PTV that exists today the PPP government should set an example by keeping the programming non-partisan, but one has to question the logic of brining on board people that promote anti-democratic views.
Zaid Hamid is on record bashing the PPP government and warning it to “straighten out its act” before “we patriotic Pakistanis take control of the situation”. No prize for guessing who this “we” is.
Maria B. promoted the “Wake Up Pakistan” series on PTV, which is a nationwide tour for Zaid Hamid to spread his message of hate. Serious questions can also be raised about the possible illegality of the speeches of Zaid Hamid, since they spread hatred and incite violence against non-Muslims.
One can almost excuse private TV channels, that relish in the ratings and advertising that Zaid Hamid’s facism bings, for providing Maria B. a platform. Not so PTV.
The Information Minister must take note of the fact that the PTV management seems to be asleep at the wheel.