Why do we need to have children on Ramazan transmissions at all?

Why do we need to have children on Ramazan transmissions at all?

A conversation has been started after Waseem Badami said he obtained the 'consent' of 5-year-old YouTuber Muhammad Shiraz's parents before getting him on his show.
13 Mar, 2024

The inclusion of child YouTube sensation Muhammad Shiraz in Waseem Badami’s Ramazan transmission Shan e Ramazan has sparked a mix of celebration and criticism online. While some may view it as a harmless addition to the show’s entertainment value, others have raised concerns about the “exploitation of child stars” for ratings and profit.

Hailing from Ghursay in Gilgit-Baltistan, a small village of 2,000 people perched on the foothills of Siachen, Shiraz is a five-year-old vlogger who uploads his daily activities to YouTube, showcasing “raw village life”. Within a month, his channel has made him into a celebrity, with his fan following traversing borders. A first grader, Shiraz takes his viewers on a journey through the picturesque northern region while introducing them to local festivals and celebrations.

Be it for morning shows or Ramazan transmissions, the trend of including children in entertainment programmes has raised concerns about the impact of early exposure to fame on children’s well-being. It has also raised ethical questions about the purpose of a child being on these shows in the first place.

Children on shows like Shan e Ramzan and Jeeto Pakistan are usually seen engaging in banter with the host or other adult contestants, and in the latter’s case, gracing the set in costumes with goodies as part of the game show.

While it may be ‘cute’ to see children on these shows, it doesn’t really make for a great environment for children. They’re encouraged to act out and say outrageous things for the sake of views and laughs and they’re appreciated — until audiences decide they’re no longer that funny and begin bullying them online instead.

Actor Mishi Khan drew attention to the potential long-term consequences of thrusting children into the limelight through these shows, citing the case of Ahmed Shah.

In response to this, Badami clarified during the live transmission of Shan e Ramazan on Tuesday that child stars are treated like family members on his set. He emphasised the channel management’s commitment to the well-being of children, asserting that they are treated with care and their education and health is prioritised over their appearance in the shows.


Waseem Badami clarifies his intentions behind inviting children such as Ahmad Shah and Muhammad Shiraz to Ramadan transmissions, as well as the amount of work they're asked of and the fact that each of their guardians is asked for consent before they appear on television. #WaseemBadami #ShiraziVillageVlogs #GalaxyLollywood #foryou #fyp #tiktokpakistan #tiktok #viral

♬ original sound - Galaxy Lollywood

However, despite these assurances, the underlying issue of exploiting children for entertainment remains.

The case of Shah serves as a testament to the pitfalls of child stars participating in such transmissions. Shah rose to fame overnight after a viral video — “Peeche toh dekho” — catapulted him into the spotlight. Yet, the fame was quickly followed by criticism and scrutiny in 2021 after he appeared on Jeeto Pakistan, with many questioning his ‘achievements’ — given the general perception is that anyone being called on a TV show or asked to participate in it is being honoured for something.

While the same criticism might not be directed toward Shiraz, there is no stopping the hateful and often spiteful comments that are inevitably posted on social media. And although it is valid to question channels for their decision to include children for ratings, misplaced hate directed towards these children will likely be detrimental to their mental health.

When grown adults struggle with nasty comments on social media, we can’t imagine how children will be able to deal with them.

As for Badami’s clarification — that the show “[obtained] consent from Shiraz’s parents before onboarding him” — is concerned, it needs to be understood that while obtaining consent is important, it is only the first and most basic of steps. To start with, it needs to be ensured that the parents’ decision is not unduly influenced or uninformed — have they been made aware of the consequences of their child being on the show? Are they basing their judgement solely on the assumption that the exposure may be good for their child’s future prospects in media?

And while someone like Shiraz may be trusted to run his own YouTube channel in the security of his hometown under the supervision of his parents, the same can’t be said about being on set, technically at work alongside grown adults. Therefore, the concerns expressed by fans and Khan are not entirely unfounded.

A while ago, a video from the set of Imran Ashraf’s comedy show Mazaq Raat also went viral in which he was seen taking the consent of a child’s mother before hugging the little girl. The act of taking consent from a child’s parent before touching them should always be encouraged and this event started a conversation — albeit a small one — on the importance of consent when it comes to children.

While it’s great that Ashraf asked for consent, it needs to be taken into consideration that not many parents would refuse a celebrity asking to show affection to their child, especially when put under the spotlight on air.

The same concept applies here — do the parents of the children included in Ramazan transmissions realise that once the glitz and glamour fade, they will have their children’s faces splashed across the internet for everyone to see? In an age where you can’t escape your digital footprint, it’s a scary thing for a child to be broadcast online.

Ultimately, the responsibility lies with both media producers and audiences. Media outlets must prioritise ethical standards and consider the well-being of their youngest participants, while audiences must demand responsible and respectful programming.


Laila Mar 13, 2024 03:33pm
So much wrong with this. Where to even begin. Children wearing makeup as if they are little women. Male strangers touching/patting/hugging children and sitting in closely with bodies touching. This is how grooming and abuse starts. No matter how many times you call strangers "uncle" or "aunty", they remain strangers. I would not be ok with this like that woman was. Especially considering how vulnerable our children are already and how child abuese is rampant and there are actual abusuerings operating nationwide at all socio-economic levels including and especially in show business. This is not something that happens only in the UK or US or Hollywood. Kindly protect your children. Hawks eye. At all times. No exceptions. Take parenthood and its responsibilities seriously. Don't be swayed by cultural preferential treatment of celebrities, fake reverence for stranger elders, or glam and glitter.
Syed Hasni Mar 13, 2024 03:50pm
“What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” Ron Howard. Melissa Gilbert. Gary Coleman. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Fred Savage. If these names bring a smile to your face, it is probably because you either grew up with them or watched them grow up in front of you. These are just a few of the many child actors who spent much of their youth bringing entertainment into our homes each week on well-loved TV programs. You forget we are dependent on Hollywood and Bollywood for our inspiration in entertainment industry. Its Entertaiment guys, get a grip!
XYZ Mar 13, 2024 03:58pm
@Syed Hasni, but many, if not all, of those people have spoken about how their childhoods were ruined by fame. So many child stars have spoken out as adults about how the adults in their lives took advantage of them
Syed Hasni Mar 13, 2024 05:09pm
About 3.3 million of Pakistani children are trapped in child labor, depriving them of their childhood, their health and education, and condemning them to a life of poverty and want. It was estimated that almost a quarter of women aged 20-49 were married before the age of 15, and 31% before eighteen years of age. Only 34% of children under five are registered at birth nationally. Birth registration is a fundamental right of all children as legal proof of a child’s existence and identity. I prefer to be destroyed by fame rather than poverty. جس کھیت سے دہقاں کو میسر نہیں روزی اس کھیت کے ہر خوشۂ گندم کو جلا دو – علامہ اقبال
Ahmed Mar 13, 2024 05:28pm
Who will decide the age of consent? What should it be and why that?
Taj Ahmad Mar 13, 2024 06:37pm
We should never allow children in any TV transmission in Pakistan. Parent’s of underage children’s age 1 to 18 should never send their children’s take part in TV transmission. Children’s should spend time in studying and sports activities.
NYS Mar 13, 2024 10:33pm
POV:- These toddlers are initially gullible there level raised to get fame (notorious not). In the era where folks are underprivileged there is no harm when these children get all perks that encapsulate their well-being... Just a matter HANDLE WITH CARE!
Osama Mar 13, 2024 11:33pm
This is an ugly face of our TV channels. No social responsibility just making the Soceity cheap with cheap owners of TV channels
Ayesha Sadozai Mar 14, 2024 02:58am
I feel sincerely that something of a child's carefree childhood is lost (ahead of the usual adulthood ) when they are exposed to the public environment on TV, film and other media . They become anxious and psychologically pressured like adults , to become part of a larger materialistic system of ratings and sponsorships etc. Please let them be. Don't exploit children.