Ramazan is finally here and Muslims all over the world are rejoicing but let’s face it, it’s a tough month to get through.
While people try to be on their best behaviour, not everyone seems to have gotten the memo… sometimes not even the people hosting Ramazan transmission and game shows.
We put together a handy list of dos and donts so this year’s Ramazan shows are a little less… bad.
Do: Move on from the body-shaming trends
In 2017, Fahad Mustafa’s Jeeto Pakistan gave prizes to people based on who weighed the most. While the winners walked home with prizes like motorbikes, it wasn’t before the host passed disparaging remarks about their weight and their bodies were objectified for other people’s amusement. It would also make for an uncomfortable viewing experience for people struggling to lose weight.
Instead of weighing people, why not stick to rewarding people for their knowledge or other skills often tested at game shows, like athletic ability or cooking prowess?
Don’t: Make irresponsible accusations
Like, there’s no need to go into such vile and dangerous territory.
In December 2017, host Aamir Liaquat was barred — by the Islamabad High Court — from making any appearances on TV after a petitioner had accused him of “handing out religious edicts… which have put the lives of a number of people in danger”.
It’s a month of peace, let’s focus on that, shall we?
Do: Stress on the importance of tolerance and treating minorities well in Islam
While we’re not always on the same page as Hamza Ali Abbasi, we’re giving credit where credit is due. The actor hosted a transmission on Bol a couple of years ago, in which he planned to discuss religious persecution in the country.
Unfortunately, before it could even happen, PEMRA banned the host from unpacking the abuse of religious and cultural minorities on his show.
Don’t: Propagate problematic family values
A couple of years ago Meera appeared as a guest on Aamir Liaquat’s Ramazan TV show Game Show Aisay Chalay Ga and the two had a short exchange on whether Meera would make a “good daughter-in-law” or not.
Aamir Liaquat asked Meera: “Will you sweep the floors?” Meera replied: “Yes, sweeping floors, keeping the room clean, massaging my husband’s feet, looking after the mother-in-law, giving her tea and breakfast in the morning, waking up the father-in-law on time for prayers…” To which the host said Meera would find a ‘good husband.’
Spreading stereotypical gender roles has always been a problem with Pakistani TV. But Ramazan transmissions should take extra steps to avoid this kind of chatter – after all, isn’t this month supposed to be about greater responsibility?
Do: Behave respectfully towards contestants
One of the most disappointing aspects of Ramazan shows is the sheer lack of civility displayed by the hosts. It appears that the more crass and outrageous the host is, the greater ratings they expect to receive. But in this race for ratings, a core message of Ramazan gets lost: the lesson of good manners and treating fellow Muslims well even when you’re having a bad day.
So, please, refrain from commenting on contestants’ ‘churail jesi hassi’ even if it gets you laughs.
Don’t: Let Islamic discourse devolve into a shouting match
When slightly contentious topics come up, conversations can get a little ‘passionate’ but it’s alarming to see scholars outright quarrel with each other on live TV. Case in point: during 2018’s Ramazan Mein Bol, a question about Zakat broke up the panel into factions. Aamir Liaquat was trying to keep the peace in the panel of six scholars but also clearly enjoying the ruckus. This kind of environment is not conducive to the sharing of knowledge and extra effort must be put in to ensure that such episodes are not repeated.