In response to the widespread public outcry and mounting anger, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has taken the long-overdue step of imposing an immediate ban on the broadcasting and rebroadcasting of the controversial TV drama series “Hadsa”. This decision arrives as a glimmer of relief for those who found the show’s content deeply troubling and potentially harmful. However, while the ban is a welcome move, the rationale provided by PEMRA leaves much to be desired.
It cannot be stressed enough that the creators and producers of “Hadsa” deserve the intense criticism they’ve faced. Their justifications for the show’s theme only underscore their inability to fully comprehend the gravity of depicting the motorway rape case in such a problematic and triggering manner. It’s an unfortunate reality that their response showcases a lack of sensitivity and understanding, perpetuating the very issues the public is outraged about.
Turning to PEMRA’s official statement, the wording raises red flags. The assertion that the content doesn’t depict a true image of Pakistani society and tarnishes the country’s image is indeed concerning. This framing hints at the regulators’ possible state of denial, ignoring the fact that Pakistan is grappling with a grim surge in sexual violence. Recent weeks have seen multiple shocking incidents of rape, affecting individuals regardless of age or gender and occurring in places as varied as homes, hospitals, markets, and universities. It’s a disturbing obliviousness to stark reality.
This pattern of dismissing facts and evading the truth extends beyond PEMRA to other bodies as well. Denial impedes progress; the first step towards addressing a problem is acknowledging its existence. By brushing aside the disconcerting truth, the authorities inadvertently contribute to the perpetuation of a culture of silence and injustice. It’s a collective responsibility to confront the glaring issues head-on, even if they cast an uncomfortable light on society.
The drama’s ban is not just about the immediate removal of content from the airwaves. In a world where media holds immense influence, it’s imperative that creators and regulators alike recognise the power they wield. Sensationalism and shock value should not come at the expense of ethical considerations and the potential harm they can inflict on an already vulnerable society. While the ban on “Hadsa” might be a step in the right direction, it’s crucial that PEMRA and other authorities take this opportunity to reflect on the larger issues at play.