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On change in women’s portrayal in media

Karachi

May 17, 2018

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The office of the Uks Research Centre was on Wednesday the venue of an animated discussion on the attitude of the media towards the portrayal of women.

The panel discussion featured the team of the recently concluded Hum TV drama serial “Dar Se Jati Hai Sila”. It was held under the initiative, titled, “Dialogue for change”. Tasneem Ahmer, head of Uks, said, “Non-stereotypical media as a vital element in quality media content and diverse gender portrayal will result in more interesting and realistic media content for audiences.”

She disapproved of the stereotyped portrayal of women whereby they are portrayed as just having in mind falling in love, getting married and having offspring. While condoning this attitude, she made it clear that these were not the only issues facing women.

Ahmer said that as a stereotype, daughters were portrayed as a burden that needed to be shed. Women, she said, were held to be synonymous with the honour of the family. She was of the view that these stereotypes could be negative, limited and degrading. All this, she opined, needed to be changed.

Talking about the role of her organisation, she said that its gender-just media drive over the last two years (2015-2017) took up many challenges, from engaging the media on the voluntary adoption of Uks’ gender-sensitive code of ethics, to generating wider public interest in Uks Women’s Media Complaint Cell.

She said that the Dialogue for Change initiative consisted in turning passive viewers and audiences into active and proactive ones, and to determine as to what extent news and entertainment content influenced viewers.

The writer of the serial, Bee Gul, said that the concept that formed an important part of our TV plays of a poor girl or a very young girl being submissive would have to be revisited, because she thought that was not quite in line with reality.

Kashif Nisar, director of the play, pointed out the connection between the producers and the advertisers and the role advertising and capitalist monetary considerations in governing the media content. Veteran TV star Sakina Samo was of the view that one had to go down to the level of the character being portrayed.

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