Citizens’ response to Zafar Siddiqi, CEO Samaa TV on Maya Khan Issue

In continuation with the lobbying efforts of the civil society to curtail journalistic Vigilantism as witnessed in the Maya Khan issue, a number of people have sent a follow up letter to Mr. Zafar Siddiqi, President CNBC Pakistan & CEO Samaa TV, in response to his earlier response to the group (below)

Dear Mr. Siddiqi,

We deeply appreciate your prompt reply and assurance that the kind of show broadcast on Jan 17, 2012, Subh Sawerey Maya ke Saath on Samaa TV will not take place again.

We also appreciate your moral courage in ensuring that Samaa TV made a public, unconditional apology broadcast on Jan 24, 2012. However, we cannot accept Ms. Maya Khan’s words broadcast that morning as an apology. She said she was sorry ‘if’ she had hurt anyone’s feelings without any acknowledgement that what she and her team did was wrong, like lying to people, filming them without consent, making fun of aggrieved couples after chasing them, and demanding their nikahnamas. In fact, her nonchalant attitude and words only compounded social and emotional wounds of the aggrieved citizens as she clearly lacked seriousness and genuine concern for the people and families she has caused harm through her deceitful, defamatory, intrusive and invasive programming, a value which is in complete contrast to your assertion that Samaa TV is a channel with progressive values.

To add salt to the wound, speaking to the New York Times on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 (the same day as Samaa broadcast her `apology’) Ms. Maya Khan `rejected her critics, calling them “an elite class that don’t even watch my show,” and said the show merely intended to highlight the dangers that unaccompanied youths face in Karachi’.” (NYT, Jan 26, 2012 – http://nyti.ms/wmKAKh).

In your email to us you say, “There are certain other directives that have been put into place as of yesterday” (ie Jan 23, 2012). Such directives need to be made public.

Subsequent to our correspondence with you, we have been made aware of other programmes broadcast earlier as part of this appalling morning show series, in which Maya Khan pits mothers and daughters and harangues young girls in the most indecent way along with her team (as in this show of Oct 2011 – http://youtu.be/gsaBNGc7zKE). There are probably many other shows that you probably have not yet seen and will be horrified, as we were, on seeing, that objectify women `Beti ka Achar -http://youtu.be/uHMuaF5eeVA) and put them at real risk of being killed for `honour’ (`Beti ki kari’ – http://youtu.be/gsaBNGc7zKE). We do not accept the disclaimers that ran in some of these programmes that Samaa TV is not responsible for the content.

In the absence of genuine apology and information about corrective policy directives, and compensation to affected families, we will have to conclude that Samaa TV is not sincere in its apology, and plans to continue with programming that blatantly violates the constitutional rights of Pakistani citizens as well as basic journalistic ethics and constitutes a case of journalistic malpractice.

In that case, it will become incumbent upon us as conscientious citizens of Pakistan to broaden our movement until corrective policies are put in place and made public along with a visible, genuine and unqualified apology from Ms Maya Khan, specifically taking back her words and actions and accepting her misconduct, not just with regards to the show of Jan 17, 2012 but also for previous shows in which she has disrespected families, media consumers and viewers alike.

We, the undersigned, as well as the over 5,000 signatories of the online petition (http://bit.ly/zRmPNZ) that has been communicated to you, are ready to lobby with corporations (and their international offices if need be), that are advertising on SAMAA TV, asking them to look into this issue before advertising with this programme and channel. We also reserve the right to approach of these brands if the need arises.

However, judging by your prompt response and by the apology broadcast on Samaaat your behest, it appears that you, Mr Zafar Siddiqi, while being genuinely well-meaning, have been misled by your producers (your senior producer Sohail Zaidi, for example, defended the programme and told BBC Urdu Radio that he was not answerable to anyone – http://bit.ly/xMc8sY).

Therefore we urge you to:

  1. Make public the written corrective directives and guidelines that have been put in place, proactively leading by example as a channel with conscience which is reponsible and cares about its viewers and their sentiments.
  2. Ensure a serious, genuine and unqualified apology from Ms. Maya Khan in which she accepts her deliberate misconduct and violation of the affected people, families, media consumers, viewers and the law.
  3. Take this appalling show `Subh Sawery Maya ke Saath’ off air, as its very premise is based on the concept of moral policing and interference in people’s personal lives.
  4. Ensure that Ms Maya Khan and all your other reporters, producers and hosts comply with the new directives in future, whether they are part of the news team or the entertainment team.

Samaa TV has many credits to its name that we appreciate. As media consumers, we genuinely want to see this channel realise its potential as a truly progressive channel. We assure you that we will support you in the mission to translate quality into greater viewership based on dignity, fairness, respect and equal rights, not tainted by substandard hosts and programming. You may want to have a look at the code of conduct guidelines of the Society of Professional Journalists, to consult while drafting their own guidelines:

Thank you,

Sincerely:

Ali Kazmi, Student, Islamabad
Ali Taj, Hedge Fund manager, Winchester Fund, Cerritos, California
Ally Adnan, Director, Huawei technologies, Dallas, TX
Amna Chishty, marketing consultant, Canada
Asadullah Khan, Head of Programming, Capital TV, Islamabad
Asif Alam, Financial Services Executive, New York, NY, USA
Asif Sattar, Admin Operations at Kiers Facilities Ltd, Slough, England
Dr Awab Alvi, Orthodontist & Social media Activist, Karachi
Beena Sarwar, journalist, Cambridge MA/ Karachi, Pakistan
Danielle Gehrmann, linguist, Sydney, Australia
Hassan Turi, student, Agricultural university, Peshawar
Syed Hussein El-Edroos, Business Development & Training Manager, Islamabad
Prof. Dr. Ijaz Khan, Chairman, Department of International Relations, University of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Dr Kamran Iqbal, Self Employed · Karachi, Pakistan
Kamyla Marvi, Citizen, Karachi Pakistan
Meera Ghani, Concerned Citizen, Lahore
Mira Hashmi, film critic and teacher, Lahore
Mohsin Sayeed, journalist, Karachi
Muhammad Faraz Faheem, Senior Software Engineer, Karachi, Pakistan
Munnazir Aziz, video producer, Lodhran, Pakistan
Nadia Fazal Jamil, actor, Lahore, Pakistan
Nadir El-Edroos, teacher, London, UK.
Naheed Tofiq Mooraj, Proprietor of Candle Works, Karachi
Naziha Syed Ali, journalist, Karachi
Nighat Daad, advocate, Lahore
Noman Quadri, concerned citizen, Karachi
Dr. Osama Siddique, Law Professor, Lahore
Rabia Akhtar. PhD candidate, Kansas State University, USA/Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Raza Bashir, corporate banking, Karachi, Pakistan
Saadia Toor, professor, New York,
Sahar Habib Ghazi, Journalist, Palo Alto, California
Shah Hayat Ahmad, Citizen, Karachi, Pakistan
Saba Hamid, actor, Lahore, Pakistan
Sabiha Alwy, Educational Psychologist, New York
Shah Nawaz, student, Memon Goth, Malir, Karachi
Shayan Afzal Khan, concerned citizen, Islamabad
Siraj Khan, Financial Executive, Boston MA USA
Tammie Mahmud, Trainer & Education Program Developer, Boca Raton, FL

——

Response by Zafar Siqqiqi on Jan 24th 2012

On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 12:05 AM, “Zafar Siddiqi” wrote:
Dear All

I have travelled to Khi to look at this matter and yesterday Maya apologised in her program for this. I can assure this will never happen again. Samaa is a progressive channel.

There are certain other directives that have been put into place as of yesterday.

I thank everyone concerned in bringing this matter to my attention. It’s really appreciated.
best regards

Zafar Siddiqi
Chairman CNBC Arabiya
Chairman CNBC Africa
President CNBC Pakistan

10 thoughts on “Citizens’ response to Zafar Siddiqi, CEO Samaa TV on Maya Khan Issue”

  1. Maya answers the critics??? I've been told that Maya Khan will be coming on Kamran Shahid's show Monday night on Express news.
     
    Rumour has it that she is going to join Express and this is going to be her 'big apology' to win back fans and critics with rhona dhona and insincere words of regret.
     
    Shame on Kamran Shahid for giving her this platform. Hasn't HE learnt from the Balouchistan show that ratings aren't everything?
     
    Maya shouldn't be allowed back on TV after what she's done…

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