Leading channels violate PEMRA’s social-distancing rules while the regulatory authority turns a blind eye to their actions

Ramazan game shows that air on various television channels are the most loved form of entertainment in every household during the holy month in Pakistan. They provide entertainment and luxury items in the form of prizes to participants present in the audience and also to those watching the show from the comforts of their home.

However this year, with the country in lockdown owing to the global pandemic, many wondered if the shows would be aired as one of their main premise is a live studio audience which actively participates in the games.

With the country following strict precautionary measures to reduce the spread of the virus, television shows are being filmed without a live audience. Globally many of these shows including Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Ellen Show are being aired from the homes of the hosts.

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But while Ramazan game shows in the country got the memo to do away with live audiences, they clearly missed out the bit that highlighted taking precautions to not put lives of the crew at risk.

Actor Fahad Mustafa’s show Jeeto Pakistan which aired on one of Pakistan’s leading television channels recently has been facing criticism for the violation of the measures mentioned by the WHO and the government of Pakistan.

Not only does the show include guest celebrities and crew members not wearing masks and gloves, but there is zero to little social distancing being practiced.

In a post written in the group Question Updates, members raised concern over the lack of protocol being followed on the show.

question updates member

On what SOP’s a show like Jeeto Pakistan is allowed to be on Air ??
No one is wearing Mask’s !!
No safety precaution’s !!
No social distancing ..
Crowd of more than 3 are there !!
When You dont allow any shop’s to open , Masjid’s to open then on what basis this show is allowed ?
Is Jeeto Pakistan stage Corona Free 😑
Where to complain abt them ?

The 36-year-old actor is not the only one whose show is being criticized, Aamir Liaquat’s Ramazan transmission Piyara Ramazan too has come under fire for the same reasons. Many others are also seen violating the rules.

Violation of PEMRA’s Directives

The undisrupted airing of these shows raises questions about the integrity of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority.

Cases of the novel coronavirus have been on the rise and the government has extended the lockdown to reduce the spread. In such a grim scenario how has PEMRA allowed these game shows to violate the rules it had, in fact, set prior to the shooting of the shows.

Two weeks ago, PEMRA issued guidelines for Ramazan Transmission keeping in view the current pandemic. These include but are not limited to:

  • If more than one person is hosting the Ramazan Transmission, then distance between both of them should not be less than one meter.
  • Only one guest at a time should be present during the transmission.
  • Competitions of quiz, Naat, speech etc. can only be held by engaging modern technologies e.g., video link, etc.
  • Approximate distance between two individuals should on-screen and off-screen not be less than one meter.

However, the game shows mentioned above have guests who are seen standing in close proximity to each other along with the participants.

PEMRA’s and the government’s lack of interest in ensuring that these shows are following the set directives creates divide among people.

When traders and businesses providing non-essential goods have not been allowed to resume business as usual, why have these game shows produced by leading channels been given a green signal?

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