July 02, 2012
Z B Saigol
KARACHI: Got a phone call about noon yesterday from a friend at Geo TV. She seemed quite excited. Started babbling, tripping over her words in her excitement to tell me what she called the ‘news of the century’.
After a suitable pause, I said: “Hang on there. Tell me from the beginning. Start at the top and work your words to a conclusion… please.”
She said: “Sana Bucha quit today.”
“You don’t know Sana?” she said, sounding scandalized.
“She’s the anchor of Lekin,” she said, as if I should have known that.
“Duh…” I said, with some effort, “Why?”
“Because of your friend Dr. Amir Liaquat Hussain,” she said, exasperated.
Finally she had my attention. “What did he do to this Sana person?”
“Not him directly,” explained my friend, “because of him. She quit because he has been rehired. Sana says it’s a matter of principal.”
“That’s what Nasim Zehra said when Mubashar and Meher decided to be a little too smart for their own good and guess what…she’s back at Dunya talking about wringing in new work ethic and other such mumbo jumbo bull. Don’t talk to me about these so-called principled people. Grandstanding is more like it. ”
“It’s not only her,” continued my friend, “It’s half the newsroom here in Karachi, at Islamabad and even Lahore. Nobody wants him. There is an internal petition and you won’t believe some of the names on it.”
“Hmmm… there really might be something to this after all. So tell me who?
“To begin with Azhar Abbas, the Managing Director News.”
“Yeah. Azhar has been there a long time. That newsroom is him… Geo can’t afford to lose him. If he goes that would be a big loss.”
“Then there’s Muaaz Ghamdi, the Director of Content Development, he’s said to be extremely unhappy. I saw him today and he was hopping mad.”
“Another guy who knows his stuff. I didn’t think he would be the kind who would be hopping mad though.”
“…And I believe some of the hosts of other shows are not happy either,” my friend informed me, a lot calmer now.
“Why should they be? After all they haven’t been offered designations like Vice-President of the Network, Group Executive Director or Editor of Religious Affairs or any other kind of affairs other than their own personal affairs?”
“There is talk that Sana has already done a deal with Waqt TV. She hasn’t done her show here for the past few days. Not expected in today either. “
“Good for her.”
“There is a good chance others will follow,” my friend insisted.
“When they do, don’t forget to remember me.”
There was a lengthy pause at the other end before my friend finally asked, “What do you think this all means?”
“As far as I’m concerned,” I said a bit edgily, “It means the industry is in turmoil. This is like a family fight. Nasim Zehra quits; she comes back. Mubashar Lucqman is sacked he joins ARY. Matiullah Jan is sacked, he joins Waqt. Fahd leaves ARY and joins Waqt and of course the bumper trumper of them all, that Doctor Jahil quits ARY to return to Geo…. There have to be some repercussions. Something has to give.”
“All belief in our media is already gone. The public look upon us as a bunch of liars and this is not entirely wrong. Look at the unethical practices we have been employing, look at the hypocrisy we have been getting up to, the personal agendas and ideologies we have been promoting, the hatred and propaganda we have being sowing. Sooner or later such things begin to go against you and they have.”
“What do you think will happen?”
“What is going to happen is that Geo is going to make more money this year during Ramazan than last year thanks to the doctor and his spineless supporters. A few people might actually quit, but not because of any so-called principles, rather chasing better offers elsewhere. And worst of all, PEMRA will be provided the opportunity to clamp down on the media a la Zia and then see what will happen. All this airing of dirty linen in public is going to leave the air a bit rancid.”
“Okay okay… so what is your opinion of Dr Amir Liaquat?”
“Please don’t ask me questions I can’t answer,” I said, hanging up.
P.S: I gifted my television set to the driver today. Perhaps he will have more use for it. I’m done with it. Just the thought of seeing that hypocrite pseudo-religious guru on television is not something I have the capacity of enduring.
(Z B Saigol is a guest writer. The views expressed by him do not necessarily reflect the views of JournalismPakistan.com)
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