New channel: Hero enters ‘news with entertainment' arena -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

New channel: Hero enters ‘news with entertainment’ arena

KARACHI: ‘Hero TV,’ billed as a channel for ‘news with entertainment,’ began its test transmission on June 1. The channel has been launched by the Express Media Group.

The tag line of the channel is ‘Dekhaday Sab Kuch’ (reveal everything), and analysts wonder whether this will be an exciting news media outlet that will promote investigative journalism.

So far, however, that is not depicted in the trailers being aired. In fact, the promos show cheating husbands, bribe-taking policemen and clips of ‘corrupt’ politicians.

In one of the promos, a young man with a tie wrapped round the forehead is shown dancing with a girl when his mobile phone rings. When he sees that it’s his wife on the phone, the music dies down. The man lies to his wife that he is busy at his office but the wife says she knows he is with another girl. With that, the tagline of the channel flashes, saying ‘Hero – Dekhaday Sab Kuch.’

Another promo shows a teenager gaping at a young girl as she walks down a street. He follows her and then tugs at her dupatta. The girl turns around and gestures “No.” Other punch lines and possible names of TV shows, include ‘Auratoun Kee Bharakti Kahanian’ and ‘Siasi Tabsaroun Ka Shehenshah’.

Taqi Shaheen of Hero TV said that the tagline of the channel came about after long hours of brain storming. ‘Dekhaday Sab Kuch’ was chosen because “it offered promise,” he said.

“Hero is a news channel that will be high on information,” he argued, adding “News does not need to be boring. It can be entertaining if one uses unusual ideas and presents it in unusual formats.”

Although he didn’t give any specifics, Shaheen said unlike other news channels, Hero would be following and presenting the ‘real story’. “It will have people stories, human-interest stories and crime-related stories from all over Pakistan.”

But journalists and media analysts are not impressed. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists’ general secretary Amin Yusuf said that although he welcomes the addition of another channel in the Pakistani media spectrum, especially since it would create new jobs, “these so-called infotainment channels are good only if they show the right content and not become a sleaze fest.”

He said many mainstream channels too were now indulging in reenactment of crime stories, especially those related with rape cases, which he termed “in very poor taste.”

Commentator Fasi Zaka said it is too early to say whether the new channel Hero is “cheap or irresponsible or neither.” Zaka added: “Being considered cheap is a matter of aesthetics that may differ from person to person.”

“What’s important is that the channel has to be responsible with its content even when the format has elements of mass appeal in it,” Zaka said, adding that a channel should be careful in not promoting hate speech in the name of entertainment.

Hasan Zaidi, who was the driving force behind the Kara Film Festival, said all news channels are guilty of dramatising and sensationalising news content these days in the name of entertainment.

“Even the mainstream news channels are guilty of playing background Bollywood music in their news content,” he said adding that news channels such as Hero are the “logical end” in this trend.

The Express Tribune