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Citizen Voices

Breaking Free From The Shackles Of Ratings: A Talk Show Worth Watching

At a time when mainstream news channels refuse to engage in any serious debate and prefer catfights among politicians for TRPs, a show on Pakistan Television (PTV) English is presenting insightful perspectives on key issues least discussed on TV. Titled ‘The Society’, the show is hosted by Barrister Fatima Shaheen and takes up pressing societal issues which merit serious dialogues but are not given enough attention. It features experts as well as activists working on the ground who not only deconstruct the issues at hand but also suggest solutions and recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders.

I happened to come across a particular episode of the show which discussed the issue of identity crisis that our younger generation often finds itself in. I was pleasantly surprised to find that such an important debate was taking place on mainstream media. This sensitive but important topic was comprehensively addressed in the show by all three panelists that included senior journalist Raza Rumi, activist/journalist Ailia Zehra and psychiatrist Dr Usman Amin Hotiana

Screen-grab from one of the recent episodes

The panelists discussed, among other things, the various factors that lead to a child or youth experiencing identity crisis and what steps can be taken at the individual as well as governmental level to help resolve these crises. The issue of mental health and how it affects the youth was also discussed at length in the show and speakers were of the opinion that the matter must be taken more seriously than it currently is.

Furthermore, the participants discussed flaws of the education system that lead to identity crisis among the youth and several useful recommendations were given in this regard. The importance of celebrating diversity of cultures, languages and views was also emphasised, and the role of social media also came under discussion with speakers calling for a broader understanding of how online space can be used constructively.

Gender bias and the difference with which male and female children are raised was also taken up by the panelists and they noted that certain stereotypes prevalent in the society may also add to the problem of identity crisis among the youth.

Apart from identifying the problems, the show also highlights success stories — the positive developments taking place in the society and how things are changing for the better. The host, Fatima Shaheen, must be credited for ensuring that all aspects of the subject matter are addressed and a constructive dialogue is presented to the audience.

The show airs every Sunday at 11 PM on PTV World.

That a show on the state-owned channel openly discusses such critical issues is certainly praiseworthy.



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