Hai Seemab is a TV producer and carries a vast experience
spanning over around 30 years. He got the first class position
while he obtained his Master's degree from the University of
Dhaka the then East Pakistan. After completing his education, he
joined the teaching profession and remained associated with the
Government College of Jessore for over 11 years. In 1973 he was
selected as the producer by the Pakistan Television on all
Pakistan basis. At that time the famous Aslam Azhar was the
Managing Director who positioned him at Lahore. Seemab got his
retirement from PTV in June 2000 as the senior producer. During
his long association with the electronic media he worked on
different segments of the television programmes including
Entertainment, Drama, Music and the Current Affairs.
Currently, the electronic media in Pakistan is confronted with multiple
challenges especially in the face of the influx of a large number of
foreign channels through satellite. Do you think the government owned
PTV is capable to meet the challenges and engage the attention of the
viewers who have many options for entertainment as well as information?
The real problem is the limited freedom given to the electronic media.
Unlike foreign channel, PTV has to work within certain limits, which
gives a very little space for the producers to highlight the real life
issues in the society.
Citing the example of his own experience, Seemab said
that he had produced a very informative programme on breast cancer,
which luckily got its way to go on air. However, soon after the telecast
he received a call from his General Manager who snubbed him in a very
harsh tone that we cannot afford to show such kind of production to the
viewers. Next day Seemab got an explanation letter asking him how he
dared to show some parts of the woman body on the television. Before
reply to that explanation, the lady luck smiled at Seemab as one of the
close relatives of the then Chief of the PTV telephoned the general
manager appreciating the efforts of the producers for taking pains for
producing such an informative peace of documentary. The relative of the
MD also inquired about the addresses of the doctors who were interviewed
in the documentary because one of his family members was suffering from
the same disease. Naturally, this kind of appreciation forced the
General Manager to reverse his decision of explanation into
appreciation. This explains the whole atmosphere in our government
controlled electronic media.
What remedy you would suggest to get rid of such elements who are
hampering the way of research and real presentation of the issues on the
know unwanted wild shrubs always hurt the productivity of the desired
plants. In the little flowerbed in front of my house I had grown a hedge
of "dum-dum". This hedge of dum dum plants never allowed my
rose and jasmine plant to bloom. When I asked from one of the gardeners
why the rose plants are flowerless even in the spring, he advised me to
weed out the dum dum hedge, which is sucking the entire energy required
for the rose plants. Similarly, dum dum exists in all those
organizations that are not producing the good results. This dum dum is
in the form of inefficient "Sifarshis" who are eating the
plant before it blooms.
Do you think that the stuff
in the PTV is not capable to deliver the goods.
course there are some intelligent and efficient people in the
organization, yet a vast majority of them have been hired on the
political or other recommendations without having a knack to
conceptualize the intensity of the social problems. Despite having a
strong team of the writers we are unable to produce quality plays,
quality music and credibility of current affairs and news bulletins.
What would you suggest to overcome all these shortcomings?
In early days, PTV had arranged for training of the staff. For that
purpose a studio adjacent to the old radio station at Simla Hill was
converted into a training institute in Lahore. However, people believe
in easy going scraped the idea of training institute and no training
school for different types of programme exist in PTV. Consequently,
people are working according to their will and capacity without going
through the process of this highly sensitive source communication. The
establishment of an institute for the training of the people working in
different cadres is highly desirable to produce good results. Besides
providing training to produce quality products, it is also necessary
that the people at the helm of affairs should give some latitude to the
people working in the electronic media so that they could translate the
real problems faced by the society on the television screen. Although
the present government has given almost a free hand to yet the habit
developed over the years to be cautious and say yes to everything coming
from the top continues to rule the minds in the electronic media.