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As Pemra bans hugging in dramas, netizens wonder why the glorification of domestic violence isn't an issue

As Pemra bans hugging in dramas, netizens wonder why the glorification of domestic violence isn't an issue

Our dramas continuously depict domestic violence, emotional abuse and stalking but the regulator doesn't seem too worried.
23 Oct, 2021

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) recently banned the airing of "caress or hug" scenes in dramas and netizens are pretty bewildered at why the regulator seems to be more concerned with the depiction of mild intimacy between on-screen married couples than the problematic portrayal of domestic violence and abuse in Pakistani dramas.

According to the directive issued on October 20, "hugs, caress scenes, extramarital relations, vulgar or bold dressing, bed scenes and intimacy of married couple" are being "glamorised" in "utter disregard to Islamic teachings and culture of Pakistani society".

Pemra also stated that it proceeded with the ban after receiving "numerous complaints from the general public" about trends in dramas that do not depict the "true picture of Pakistani society".

The directive has prompted an outcry from netizens on Pakistani Twitter who said that what Pemra should actually be worried about is the normalisation and glorification of domestic abuse and disregard for the depiction of healthy marital relations on television.

Users pointed out how the normalisation of such problematic portrayals reinforce a culture of "control, abuse and violence".

Users also decried the lack of content warnings when it comes to displaying violence on television. Currently, there are no content warnings in dramas that depict acts of violence against either gender or suicide. Instead of policing healthy portrayals of intimacy, Pemra might do well to at least include a provision that requires TV channels to give content warnings before showing sensitive scenes.

There's no denying that Pakistani dramas continuously depict domestic violence, emotional abuse, stalking and unhealthy marital relations to carry drama plot lines forward. The wildly popular Iqra Aziz and Feroze Khan-starrer Khuda Aur Muhabbat showed Mahi (Aziz) being stalked by Farhad (Khan) as a display of 'love'. Khuda Aur Muhabbat also featured a depiction of domestic violence. An episode showed actor Nazim Shah (Sohail Sameer) slap his wife Sahiba (Sunita Marshall) during an argument.

The infamous 'slap scene' from drama Laapata angered many netizens as well.

Here are some suggestions of things Pemra can regulate in dramas instead.

Ban the glorification of domestic violence

Pemra providing guidelines on the glorification of domestic violence, abuse and stalking could perhaps be of more benefit to society. Showing such acts as normal displays of affection or as normal aspects of a marital relation mar the viewer's perception of what healthy displays of affection or relationships look like. Addressing such issues is especially important in a country that ranks as one of the worst countries for women to live in when it comes to inclusion, justice and security. Women in Pakistan regularly face the threat of violence.

Require trigger warnings before airing sensitive content

Pemra could also direct television channels to provide trigger warnings before airing sensitive content. Sensitive content includes the depiction of suicide as well as physical violence of any kind. Pakistani dramas frequently show suicides as a 'vital' part of the plot line. Drama Azamaish showed the character Shiza (played by Yashma Gill) take her own life in the final episode. The Sajal Aly-starrer Yeh Mera Dil depicted suicide as well, and so did drama Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay.

While it is understandable that some sort of depiction is unavoidable, and perhaps somewhat necessary to show a reality present within society, it is important to depict such aspects in a sensitive manner that doesn't cause harm or emotional trauma to the viewer. Content warnings allow viewers to avoid the scene altogether if they are uncomfortable with watching it for whatever reason. It can also prove useful for parents who might not want their children to be exposed to such delicate matters at a young age as well.

Comments

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Zeeshan Oct 23, 2021 06:22pm
PEMRA isn't wrong altogether but triggers of content warning is a better approach for conscious parents to change channel
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Fastrack Oct 23, 2021 06:55pm
Keep whining. Did you ever approach Pemra with your "request"?
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Fastrack Oct 23, 2021 06:56pm
Not netizens. The usual feminist lot.
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Haider Oct 23, 2021 06:59pm
Who is glorifying violence? You guys write the script and direct the plays... Its the first time PEMRA made the right decision. Hugging and other form of expression is not an invention recently discovered that it has to be displayed in dramas. It's permissable within Halal relations and in dramas it certainly isn't. Try using your skills for other productive things other than this.
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Fastrack Oct 23, 2021 07:00pm
Mrs Reema Omer, affection is not a "normal depiction" of Pakistani marriage? I really feel for your marriage; or, if that's working okay, then your husband.
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Parvez Oct 23, 2021 07:03pm
Hugging is a natural sign of affection ....PEMRA needs to broaden its vision because by such rules it is doing this government and Pakistan more harm than good.
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Ehsan Oct 23, 2021 07:27pm
Zuaulhaq naya Pakistan version
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Multani Oct 23, 2021 07:54pm
Hugging is not acceptable gesture in our society more so in Bollywood or Hollywood., not here
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VIq saad Oct 23, 2021 08:07pm
Good decision PEMRA
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Bebe Oct 23, 2021 09:01pm
Though truthfully, I assume the humor comes from the absurdity of these situations, rather than the writing itself. watch Spider-Man No Way Home online
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Chrís Dăn Oct 23, 2021 09:02pm
Such as hugging and caress and kissing does not happen on this earth?such Pakistanis are on some other platonic place?
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Tariq Oct 23, 2021 09:30pm
Why not ban live morning shows, game and Ramadan shows which spread negativity among viewers?
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Hassan Oct 23, 2021 09:38pm
Why so much hype if any thing bad has been banned by Pemra, if other bad things not banned then is it justified to allow hugging , Two wrong don't make on right Slowing and gradually other bad things will also be banned coz our liberal cannot digest these things easily Good job by pemra
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Shahzad Oct 23, 2021 09:53pm
Sickness in our society.Hippocrates all of them. Illiterate population/complete ignorance . World is leaving these people behind. North Korea syndrome has taken over. Self glorification is destroying everything .
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Usama Khan Oct 23, 2021 10:05pm
And Iran bans commercial of women eating Pizzas ...
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Anonymouseee Oct 23, 2021 10:25pm
Excellent step by Pemra. These netizen trolls will keep complaining about random stuff. Just ignore them. We are an Islamic republic and should not show light intimacy scenes in general tv.
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Ch. S Oct 23, 2021 11:28pm
Full Black or Blue Burqa should also be made mandatory. If we're going to do an Afghanistan; let's do it properly.
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Chrís Dăn Oct 24, 2021 12:22am
And new born kids fall from the sky!
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Only Oct 24, 2021 01:41am
Even in dubbed Turkish and Chinese serials?
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Umair Oct 24, 2021 02:01am
What else one can expect under rule of his highness Taliban khan
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Farhan Baig Oct 24, 2021 02:02am
We are Islamic country. Domestic violence should be shown as negative and they should not be any PDA in our dramas. See how easy it is to solve
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Henchi Oct 24, 2021 02:50am
Good job PEMRA for keeping a keen eye on our dramas.
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Fazal Karim Oct 24, 2021 04:49am
PEMRA can not see open violation of its rule regarding advertisement on electronic media. As per PEMRA rules advertisement in an hour show should not exceed 12 minutes as a whole and one break not to exceed 3 minutes. In open violation, in an hour show advertisements takes about 20 to 25 minutes, at a time more than 3 minutes. Many times same add is repeated 3 to 4 times in one hour show. Thus half the time of viewers is share waste, which could be utilized on children education and for other productive purpose, If nothing else to go to bed early, get up early in the morning and attending office in time.
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Dua Oct 24, 2021 06:53am
Anna aka Sajal in Yai dil mera did not commit suicide... Secondly, it is not confirmed yet whether Mashal was killed or she committed suicide accidentally or deliberately in HKKST.
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Dua Oct 24, 2021 06:54am
Pemra also had banned Dil na Umeed To nahi... What a shame!!!
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Aziz Oct 24, 2021 08:29am
It is true that Huggins don’t bed talk are getting more common in our dramas ! Pakistani dramas are so good that they don’t need the help of these scenes , they are not films so please keep them as dramas which all Pakistanis could see together ! For those who want some spicy stuff , could go to cinemas !
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Safir A Siddiqui Oct 24, 2021 08:46am
Well done Pemra for stopping Be- heyai from our tv dramas.Ours is lslamic Mashra we should not copy European or American culture.Revealing dresses should be curbed with iron hand.
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Sarah Oct 24, 2021 10:18am
@Safir A Siddiqui there were no revealing dresses in Pakistani dramas in te first place
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Art Oct 24, 2021 10:38am
Who tells pemra to do such stupid things? Why not ban showing second marriages. Many loser men in Pakistan don’t deserve one wife let alone 2… shame on pemra
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Zubaida Oct 24, 2021 11:25am
Why not ban dramas glorifying patriarchy, polygamy, talaq, incestuous marriages between first cousins, pedophilia? When will Pemra take notice of these things that are common in all Pakistani dramas?
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M. Saeed Oct 24, 2021 11:37am
Pemra recently banned the airing of "caress or hug" scenes in dramas ----'news'. Reincarnation of Zia ul Haq's,,,....
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Fatima Oct 24, 2021 12:26pm
There you go. Domestic violence, verbal abuse, physical abuse, rows, intolerance must also be banned.
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Skeptic Oct 24, 2021 12:27pm
In some ME Countries, PDA, hugging or kissing your spouse in public will land you in jail. And if you're with a partner, not married to, you could face severe punishment, including deportation. One of these ambitious nations, is dreaming of going to Mars.
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sultan Oct 24, 2021 12:38pm
@Multani What about Turkish dramas? They are more bold and westernized than Bollywood and mostly have women dressed in revealing outfits with lots of intimate scenes.
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sultan Oct 24, 2021 12:43pm
There are no intimate scenes in Pakistani dramas but a lot of physical and verbal abuse which is neither censored nor a warning is issued during such scenes.
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sultan Oct 24, 2021 12:46pm
@Only Turkish serials are full of intimate scenes, revealing outfits and lots of violence. Are they going to be banned as well?
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chengez k Oct 24, 2021 01:06pm
WOW....... the only way to bring inflation down !!!!
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AJ Oct 24, 2021 02:10pm
Who are these 'netizens'? A rare few that have amplified voice on social media. Inappropriate inter-mingling is bad, and so is domestic violence. Don't have to choose to regulate either.
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Junaid Oct 24, 2021 04:23pm
Pemra really have their priorities straighten out.
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Pops Oct 24, 2021 06:30pm
A mother/father can’t hug a child?
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Shaheryar Oct 24, 2021 07:26pm
@Fastrack true
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Hanna Oct 24, 2021 08:04pm
The decision making of pemra just reflects our regressive social setup where abuse is normal and affection is alien in relationships
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Jamison Oct 24, 2021 08:14pm
You have very nice post and pictures, please have a look at our photo tours in the temples of Angkor
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nk Oct 24, 2021 09:28pm
@Chrís Dăn Yes it is, It should but within the limits and boundaries allowed in our religion and culture.
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nk Oct 24, 2021 09:34pm
Did we not made the best dramas and got the best entertainment in PTV era without all the nonsense of all this new ingredient that is the subject in this article.
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asad Oct 25, 2021 12:17am
Zia ul Haq 2.0.
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Irfan Huq Oct 25, 2021 09:34am
@Fastrack Just talk about yourself and not about other.everyone knows what a Pakistani society is
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illawarrior Oct 26, 2021 11:52am
Are you telling me that Pakistani couples, married or unmarried, do not hug or kiss? The birth rate would suggest otherwise!
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