Newly-launched Hero TV of the Express media group has decided not to air its special program for Ramadan, ‘Astaghfaar’, in the face of a mounting public outcry and an online petition that had garnered plenty of support against its controversial host, Veena Malik.
The promo for Veena’s Ramadan special made rounds on every social networking website, prompting hundreds of blog entries and sealing the deal for skyrocketing ratings for Hero TV before even being launched.
The criticism it received, however, outweighed appreciation by a mile, with several community pages on Facebook, derisive internet meme’s and thousands of posts and comments devoted to grounding the show before it aired.
PEMRA subsequently took up the issue with Hero TV, after receiving over 3,000 complaints on its official website.
A naysayer on the website complained saying, “Hero TV intends to air a program in Ramadan hosting Veena Malik. The program and channel might have a positive vision about this, but I strongly feel that this program will actually be another act of making fun of Islam. Any program that has a clear vision to promote channel rankings by making fun of Islam or any other religion must not be allowed to go on air, especially in Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”
Talking to Pakistan Today, PEMRA spokesman Fakhruddin Mughal said that Hero TV’s ‘Astaghfaar’ went against the authority’s code of conduct and hurt public sentiment and aspirations.
He said that Hero TV was informed about the massive criticism invoked on social media as well as by religious and social groups, and it decided to take the show down without further ado.
The promos and trailers of the show, in which Veena appeared with a teary face, sparked an outrage across social media platforms. Several blog posts alleged that this was only a marketing stunt and Hero TV had never intended to air the show.
However, the PEMRA spokesman denied this statement, revealing that Veena had indeed been hired for the program.
Looks like the queen of scandal, Veena, will not be repenting her sins on cable TV after all. While the online roster for complaints on the PEMRA website had indeed gained enough objections to take action, a lot of her fans on Twitter vociferously tweeted against this move, asking for Aamir Liaquat and Maya Khan’s respective shows to be taken off air as well.