Media Malika-e-Jazbaatis

Knowing that Sana Bucha is one of my favourite TV anchors, my mother sent me a link to Maheen Ghani’s interview with Sana Bucha for Newsline Magazine. As a young woman who aspires to have an impact on the world, I see her as something of a role model. Yes, I read the fashion and entertainment news also, but what inspires me about Sana is that she reports on serious topics and does not allow herself to be limited by gender stereotypes. I was excited to read the interview, but while I was reading it, my heart sank. Not because of what Sana said, but because of what Maheen asked.

Sana did a great job of explaining that professional and successful women are not some Western creation, either, but come from all parts of society. She also explained that just because talk shows were mostly hosted by men, she did not accept that it was out of her reach to be a successful host herself only because she is a woman.

I have never really thought ‘I’m not a man, therefore, I can’t do something.’ Actually, in our society, there are many fields more dominated by women than men. There is a perception, for example, that modelling is a women’s profession, not a man’s.

As I said, the interview was inspiring me. But then the question came that made my heart sink.

Q: You have covered some extremely emotional stories like the one on the Sialkot lynching. Being a woman anchor, was it difficult for you to hold your emotions in check or did you manage to keep your cool?

Being a woman anchor…? Why would it be any more difficult for a woman anchor to hold back her emotions or manage to keep her cool than a man anchor? In the midst of an inspiring interview about how women can break down the barriers of sexism, up comes an age old sexist stereotype that women are “emotional” and can’t keep their cool in difficult situations. It’s not just women, however, who sometimes let their emotions get the better of them. Actually, looking at high profile journalists, is it really the women who lose their cool?

Since Twitter has gained popularity, many high profile journalists have joined and use the social media site daily. These guys have filled their Twitter feeds with petty gossips, insults, and emotional rants. Following some of our more prominent men TV anchors on Twitter is like having a never ending live feed of a Star Plus drama. Seriously, some moustaches will never be full enough to fully hide the phappay kutnis underneath.

Meanwhile, woman journalists on Twitter like Sana Bucha and Ayesha Tammy Haq have Twitter feeds that are informative. Where some of the men are re-Tweeting trolls and other juvenile insults, the women are debating and educating. Isn’t that what journalism is supposed to be about?

And it’s not just Twitter, either. Watch a few episodes of some of the talk shows hosted by men and see how often they turn into emotional shouting matches. Maybe we should be asking why these men cannot control themselves and behave in a professional way.

Thankfully, after the question about whether Sana could control her emotions, the interview got back to important questions about journalism and the struggles of a woman in a field dominated by men. Women have a lot to contribute to whatever career we choose, but we still have a lot of stereotypes to overcome while we do it. Thankfully, young women like myself have role models like Sana Bucha who refuse to be intimidated by these stereotypes.

Why is a PTI-establishment link so easy to believe?

Imran Khan

After weeks of successful rallies and seeing their stock rise in the media, PTI finds itself on the back foot this week after increasing allegations about how close the party is with the establishment. While these allegations remain largely based on speculation, PTI supporters might want to think about why people find their party’s ties to agencies so easy to believe.

Dr Awab Alvi, son of PTI General Secretary Dr Arif Alvi, wrote on his blog the other day that he is “getting tired of hearing people accusing PTI of being supported by the establishment”. Dr Awab strongly defends his political party as a party of change that is being attacked unfairly.

Ironically, on that very same day, a news article in The Sunday Times reported that “[Imran Khan] was recently introduced to Cameron Munter, the American ambassador, in the presence of General Shuja Pasha, the ISI chief”.

PTI denied the Sunday Times report, and are considering a lawsuit against the British newspaper. At the same time, ISPR issued a strongly worded statement denying the meeting causing some to wonder if both PTI and the agency weren’t being more defensive than necessary.

This was followed by Omar Cheema being grilled by Sana Bucha about why Imran Khan named Husain Haqqani as involved in the memogate scandal at his 30th October rally when he had not been identified by that time. The obvious insinuation was that Imran Khan had been tipped off by his contacts in the establishment. Again, PTI was quick to respond that while it is true that Haqqani had not been identified, Imran “put two and two together”. I’m not sure if it’s a good excuse for someone who wants to be trusted with the responsibilities of PM to admit that he makes public accusations against people based merely on his assumption, but in this case his assumption turned out to be right so this too will pass without much comment.

What is interesting to note in each case is not whether or not it is proof that PTI is an establishment party. On their own, these two incidents are easily excused. What is more interesting, though, is why it was so easy for so many people to believe that it was the proof in the pudding that PTI was forced to put out strongly worded statements, and in the case of Sunday Times, even contemplate a lawsuit.

Actually, I hope Dr saheb is right and that PTI is not being used as a tool of the establishment. But I also hope that the events of this week make them stop for a moment to ask why it’s so easy for people to believe they are…