Viewers fed up with repetition
ISLAMABAD: After 48 days of continuous repetition of distorted facts, lies, unjustifiable demands, allegations without proof, criticism, failed comedy and pathetic entertainment, the television viewership has stopped watching Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan’s Dharna which has ultimately compelled the television channels to limit Imran’s coverage.
Imran was badly exposed by Makhdoom Javed Hashmi of playing into the hands of a scriptwriter, which has limited once a charismatic personality’s popularity.Imran lost his credibility after his lies were caught on his face, and the president of his own party exposed him. Thus, he has disappointed his followers. His repetition of the same things for almost a month has added fuel to the fire.
After an overwhelming response from the viewers and taking a calculated risk, the Geo TV took the initiative six days ago by minimising the coverage given to the dead and redundant Dharna of the PTI because the people were fed up with the continuous repetition since August 14. After Geo’s initiative, all the other television channels also followed suit and on Wednesday Imran Khan’s coverage was limited to a few minutes while channels went to the normal business of news bulletins and talk shows while Imran continued criticising the politicians and all those who are critical of him.
All the television channelshad given an unprecedented coverage to Imran Khan’s Dharna right from Lahore from August 14, round the clock, but after the viewership’s response, the channels followed Geo’s suit and decided to get back to the real challenges being faced by the country, which the public wants to watch. The coverage of Dr Tahirul Qadri was already down for the last three weeks, but Imran ruled the roost in getting the media coverage.
Interestingly, Imran Khan dealt the media very scientifically on the advice of one of the owners of a rating company, who is also an active member of PTI. Imran would start his speech at such a time when the viewership of television talkshows and news bulletins were at its peak, so that he could get the attention of most of the television viewers. However, after four weeks of repetition of blatant lies, criticism of politicians and flop comedy and entertainment, the air in the already pricked balloon of Imran Khan burst as television viewers rejected him.
It was a general perception among the public, and the media circles had also sensed it, that Imran Khan’s show was like an Indian film in which there are loud dialogues, comedy and songs but for how long could the people bear this flop show.
Because Imran was criticising seasoned politicians, hurling baseless allegations on the Jang Group, judiciary and the Election Commission of Pakistan, imitating and mocking a respected politician Mehmood Khan Achakzai on the stage and live on television channels, the feedback from the public was that they were getting irritated by the flop show of Imran Khan, which made the basis for decrease in his coverage.
The media pundits, civil society and experts were saying that Imran’s show had a nosedive after Makhdoom Javed Hashmi’s revelations; therefore, the public no longer wanted to see a flop show. They say the public wants to see successful politicians and not the flop ones and, therefore, all the TV channels had to reduce Imran’s Dharna coverage.
While Imran was already having a flop show, Javed Hashmi’s startling revelations proved to be the last nail in the coffin of PTI’s Dharna. Initially, the people believed that what Imran was saying was correct and there should be electoral reforms and a probe into the rigging allegations. When Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif announced to constitute a judicial commission to probe into the election rigging as desired by Imran Khan, the purpose of Imran Khan’s Dharna died down, but he is hell bent on getting the resignation of the prime minister.
All the political parties outright rejected Imran Khan’s demand of the prime minister’s resignation without the outcome of the judicial commission. From the PPP’s Asif Zardari and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah to Aftab Sherpao, from Maulana Fazlur Rehman to Jamaat-e-Islami (PTI’s ally in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), from Awami National Party to Mehmood Khan Achakzai, everyone in parliament and the public at large rejected Imran Khan’s demand for the prime minister’s resignation out and clear. He even imitated Mehmood Khan Achakzai’s traditional Pashtoon culture of taking a shawl.
The continuous repetition of the same thing from Lahore to Islamabad and for 28 days made the TV viewers sick, which compelled the television channels to limit Imran Khan’s coverage; otherwise, Imran was wisely playing with the media as the channels were forced to delay their bulletins and cut their talk shows to show the speeches of the PTI chief.