Every year with the arrival of Ramzan we see channels coming up with a wide array of programmes designed to educate and entertain people in the holy month. It has become a mainstay of our yearly broadcast cycle, where each channel tries to challenge each other. Initially, it used to comprise of religious programmes and live discussions with religious, scholars and figures.
However of late, in an effort to outdo each other, the transmission has become branding and sponsorship opportunity with game shows, giveaways, on-screen promotions taking precedence over the true spirit of the holy month of Ramzan.
In this regard, what makes GEO Network always stand out is its policy of following PEMRA guidelines effectively. This year as well, GEO Television distinguishes itself by becoming the only leading channel to follow PEMRA guideline which was issued recently for Ramzan transmissions in view of the current COVID 19 situation. These measures were meant to ensure the safety of the crew and onscreen talent as we face a pandemic.
Geo TV has won its audience for demonstrating how important it is to practise social distancing– keeping in mind the financial hardship most people are facing in this difficult time. While at one hand we have channels trying to keep up with their earlier plans with a few limitations, we have been seeing Geo TV stand out for its simplicity and avoiding needless extravagance.
According to the guidelines, game shows/competition should be online, only one guest is allowed on set at a time, there should be no display of bikes and gifts on set as well as no large extravagant large sets, which some channels are actively violating.
Geo Television seems to be the only major broadcaster (along with smaller ones namely PTV, Express and Aaj) this Ramzan ensuring careful measures that do not defy the principles of social distancing or violate the principles of consideration and empathy. This is very essential as PEMRA’s rules (which are guidelines for the industry) are meant to help create a safe and sensitive environment for the masses.
As a responsible and empathetic media entity, it falls on every channel to follow safety measures, especially in the light of Ramzan that requires us to show empathy, care, and respect, as well as create an environment both on-air and off-air and not become insensitive to people’s financial plight and emotions.
Unfortunately, it seems that even in this time of need, most channels are lacking reflection and kindness in this race for TRPs and ratings.