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Sunday, September 23, 2007

TV Channels in Pakistan

Breaking news? Latest news? Updates? And in Urdu: braking noos, taaza khabar, or taaza khabrain, soorkhian?

I don't know if there is a PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) guideline on how many commercial and non-commercial breaks a TV station is allowed per hour. And if they do, how are they enforced.

I don't know if the major players like ARY or GEO have their own internal guidelines.


Am sure of one thing: the engineer, producer or director who inserts these 'breaks' has no idea of the juncture, time, or propriety for these insertions. They display an utter disregard for the hapless viewer.

This affliction is displayed non-chalantly across the board. PTV and other licensees routinely break into Mushy's telecast. Serious deliberations on the 'deal' -- alright, pontifications -- by earnest sounding pundits are rudely interrupted by these irritating breaks on all channels. And the viewer, the one who was glued to to the programme is left wondering what the duck .

What is more disconcerting is that these interruptions bring only news that is seldom newsworthy of a break.

On nationally aired programme what is the worth of a break informing of a car and truck accident in Ceechawatani in which five of a family, mother, uncle and three children were injured? Go fetch the father please!

What suspense is created when a shouting politician is interrupted in mid sentence, "Nawaz Sharif is a..." with a breaking news that repeats a 17 hours old news item, "There is still no news of the 250 Frontier Constabulary Jawans missing in South Waziristan" and this break is brought to you by Finest Stainless Spoons - a Brand nearest your lips?" And after this irritating break you return to the anchors and guests now laughing. What did we miss? Is Nawaz a joker? Or the ... Khair, janay diji'aye!

We know commercials pay for the station's subsistence. But for how long will these stations and outlets continue to ignore the viewer?

How soon a budding entrepreneur will realize there is a niche for commercial free programming like NPR or PBS? (A mix of public funding plus public subscription service?)

And would anyone know why soorkh, which is red is used in Urdu as soorkhi for the heading which is usually in black and white?


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