Maya Khan Is Willing To Sacrifice Your Reputation For Her Career

Jan 23rd, 2012 | By | Category: Ethics, Samaa TV

Maya Khan may have wanted to gain fame and notoriety through a career in media, but this is probably not what she had in mind. Following a clip from her show Subah Sawerey Maya Kay Sath aired by Samaa TV over the weekend, her name has entered countless conversations as a public outcry has grown about the irresponsibility of the host, the producers and even the network that aired the show. But this latest outrage at media irresponsibility is, sadly, only the latest example of a problem that is rooted deep in the media – valuing entertainment over information, and the willingness to sacrifice other people to get ahead.

First, the clip.

The indispensable Cafe Pyala hit the nail on the head.

Not only does Samaa TV’s goon squad invade the privacy of people, it blatantly ignores the consequences of putting these poor people’s faces on air (who knows or cares what their domestic circumstances are) and lies to them about having their mikes and cameras switched off. This is unethical behaviour beyond all limits.

We wrote one year ago about the danger of using religious judgmentalism to boost ratings.

It may be entertaining to watch people yell and insult each other over inanities. But when the line begins to blur between yelling on TV and yelling in the streets, entertainment turns quickly to incitement. We each make our own decisions in life, but these decisions are influenced by those we look to for information and guidance: parents, teachers, friends…and now TV. Perhaps Meher Bokhari did not look into Qadri’s eyes and tell him to kill Salmaan Taseer, but she didn’t have to. The message was already clear.

Reading fatwas against Salmaan Taseer, Meher Bokhari egged on extremists to commit violent acts against an innocent man. In the case of Maya Khan’s actions on Samaa TV, the people who she calls into question are not even public figures. They are private citizens and there is no evidence that they were doing anything illegal or immoral. In fact they were harassed in a public park during broad daylight, not caught in a hotel or sneaking around after dark. But the facts are not what viewers will take away. They will take away the impression, the innuendo that these young people were engaged in illegal or immoral behaviour. Their reputations are a price Maya Khan and Samaa TV are willing to pay to buy some extra ratings. And if, God forbid, some extremist decided to follow the example of Mumtaz Qadri, then will they too use hollow claims of media freedom to hide their shame?

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