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Pakistan: selling babies for TRP

Cermank
Posts: 3,773
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8/1/2013 12:20:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani television is screening what many call its most controversial content yet in a ruthless quest for ratings: a talk-show host who gives away babies live on air.

Aamir Liaquat Hussain, a bespectacled 41-year-old with a neatly trimmed beard, gave away two abandoned infant girls to childless families last month and plans to give away a baby boy this week.

"If we didn't find this baby, a cat or a dog would have eaten it," Hussain proclaimed during one broadcast, before presenting a tiny girl wrapped in pink and red to her new parents. The audience erupted with applause.

Hussain is one of Pakistan's most popular talk-show hosts. During his marathon broadcasts he cooks, interviews clerics and celebrities, entertains children and hosts game shows.

He usually gives prizes like motorbikes, mobile phones and land deeds to audience members who answer questions about Islam.

But at the beginning of the holy Muslim month of Ramzan, when television stations battle fiercely for ratings, Hussain astonished Pakistan when he presented two families with babies.

"We were told that we had passed all the interviews and had been selected to adopt a baby," said Riaz Uddin, 40, an engineer. "We got our baby on live TV."

The abandoned babies were rescued by the Chhipa Welfare Association, a Pakistani aid organization.

"In a day or two, the next baby will be given away, God willing," its head, Ramzan Chhipa, told Reuters on Thursday.

While the Chhipa teams scour the garbage dumps and other sites for discarded newborns, Hussain is also appealing for babies directly.

"If any family cannot afford to bring up their new born baby due to poverty or illness then instead of killing them, they should hand over the baby to Dr Aamir," a notice on his website reads. The children would be given to deserving couples on air, the notice said.

The show's producers did not return Reuters calls seeking comment. It was not clear if poor families wishing to keep their children would also be helped.

Fighting for viewers

Many Pakistanis expressed disgust that abandoned babies were being given away in what they see as an attempt to boost ratings. Chhipa insisted thousands of people wanted a baby and all potential parents were properly vetted.

The true outrage, he said, was the poverty forcing families to abandon children.

Hussain's show is one of many such broadcasts. The Pakistani media has flourished over the past decade or so following the liberalization of the industry, particularly broadcasting, after decades of tight state control.

Now, instead of battling state restrictions, presenters fight for audiences and advertising by seeing who is most outrageous.

Recent episodes include a female anchor stalking couples in a park to challenge their morality, and a news programme which once ran a live broadcast showing a staff member bleeding to death in an operating theatre after he was shot in a riot.

Even among this company, Hussain stands out. In 2008, he hosted scholars who called for the deaths of Ahmadis, a persecuted religious sect in Pakistan. Within a day, two prominent Ahmadis had been shot dead.

The year before, he had to resign from his post as junior minister for religious affairs after denouncing author Salman Rushdie for blasphemy, a crime punished by death in Pakistan.

Since then, his university degree has been exposed as a fake and a video showing him making crude jokes with clerics between takes of his show has leaked onto YouTube.

"There is nothing they won't do to get viewers," said comedian Sami Shah. "If I was a cynic, I'd say this can only end badly. But since I'm a realist, I'll say it's already ended terribly."
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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8/1/2013 6:18:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
1) As usual, I will chide for not providing a source.
http://www.reuters.com...

2) This actually sounds like an incredible move on the talk show host. I would think humanitarian groups would applaud such an act, even if it was for the commercial purpose of increasing ratings.

3) The commentary was spot on...if you find the practice problematic, take care of the underlying cause, the poverty.

4) Typo from wherever you got your article...The holy month is Ramadan, not Ramzan, which is the name of one of the people interviewed.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Cermank
Posts: 3,773
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8/1/2013 9:07:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/1/2013 6:18:46 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
1) As usual, I will chide for not providing a source.
http://www.reuters.com...

Ugh.

2) This actually sounds like an incredible move on the talk show host. I would think humanitarian groups would applaud such an act, even if it was for the commercial purpose of increasing ratings.

3) The commentary was spot on...if you find the practice problematic, take care of the underlying cause, the poverty.

Are you serious? Give them the money, if they're so passionate about the cause. They're asking for poor people to give up their child if they believe they can't afford it. So that they can sell it off. Are you okay with this, just so we're on the same page?

4) Typo from wherever you got your article...The holy month is Ramadan, not Ramzan, which is the name of one of the people interviewed.

It's called Ramzan in Urdu, Persian, Turkish, etc. lol, are you saying Reuters screwed up the most important month of Muslim Calender? :P
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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8/1/2013 10:08:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/1/2013 9:07:37 PM, Cermank wrote:
At 8/1/2013 6:18:46 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
1) As usual, I will chide for not providing a source.
http://www.reuters.com...

Ugh.

2) This actually sounds like an incredible move on the talk show host. I would think humanitarian groups would applaud such an act, even if it was for the commercial purpose of increasing ratings.

3) The commentary was spot on...if you find the practice problematic, take care of the underlying cause, the poverty.

Are you serious? Give them the money, if they're so passionate about the cause. They're asking for poor people to give up their child if they believe they can't afford it. So that they can sell it off. Are you okay with this, just so we're on the same page?

No, you've totally misread the story...they are looking for abandoned children in dumpsters, saving them from certain death, and then holding the kids up for adoption.

"While the Chhipa teams scour the garbage dumps and other sites for discarded newborns, Hussain is also appealing for babies directly.

""If any family cannot afford to bring up their new born baby due to poverty or illness then instead of killing them, they should hand over the baby to Dr Aamir," a notice on his website reads. The children would be given to deserving couples on air, the notice said."


4) Typo from wherever you got your article...The holy month is Ramadan, not Ramzan, which is the name of one of the people interviewed.

It's called Ramzan in Urdu, Persian, Turkish, etc. lol, are you saying Reuters screwed up the most important month of Muslim Calender? :P

lol. I guess people can be named Ramadan too, then?
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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8/1/2013 10:13:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/1/2013 9:07:37 PM, Cermank wrote:
At 8/1/2013 6:18:46 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

Are you serious? Give them the money, if they're so passionate about the cause. They're asking for poor people to give up their child if they believe they can't afford it. So that they can sell it off. Are you okay with this, just so we're on the same page?

Basically, what I see them doing is to tell poor people NOT to kill their children.

Regarding "selling" the children, that's not what they are doing. They are not charging a fee for the service. They are doing it for publicity, yes, but their acts do not involve a financial transaction.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Lordknukle
Posts: 12,788
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8/2/2013 11:13:39 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
So it's bad that a childless family that wanted a baby is getting one that would have otherwise died? Ignore all the other parts of the story, because the moment you start denouncing the entire action simply because of some ulterior motive, you show that you value how ratings are obtained more than the lives of babies.
"Easy is the descent to Avernus, for the door to the Underworld lies upon both day and night. But to retrace your steps and return to the breezes above- that's the task, that's the toil."
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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8/2/2013 1:01:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/2/2013 11:13:39 AM, Lordknukle wrote:
So it's bad that a childless family that wanted a baby is getting one that would have otherwise died? Ignore all the other parts of the story, because the moment you start denouncing the entire action simply because of some ulterior motive, you show that you value how ratings are obtained more than the lives of babies.

This was much more succinct than anything I said.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
pozessed
Posts: 1,034
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8/2/2013 5:28:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/2/2013 11:13:39 AM, Lordknukle wrote:
So it's bad that a childless family that wanted a baby is getting one that would have otherwise died? Ignore all the other parts of the story, because the moment you start denouncing the entire action simply because of some ulterior motive, you show that you value how ratings are obtained more than the lives of babies.
AnDoctuir
Posts: 11,060
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8/2/2013 6:17:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Sounds pretty messed up all right, but I'd personally take these kids getting some sort of homes as the silver lining to the dark cloud that is this dude's insanity. Seems a bit of a wicked God complex lightened up somewhat.
Such
Posts: 1,110
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8/2/2013 8:12:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/1/2013 9:07:37 PM, Cermank wrote:
At 8/1/2013 6:18:46 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
1) As usual, I will chide for not providing a source.
http://www.reuters.com...

Ugh.

Right?!
Such
Posts: 1,110
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8/2/2013 8:17:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/1/2013 9:07:37 PM, Cermank wrote:
Are you serious? Give them the money, if they're so passionate about the cause. They're asking for poor people to give up their child if they believe they can't afford it. So that they can sell it off. Are you okay with this, just so we're on the same page?

That's a pretty cynical interpretation, don't you think? It seemed like less an appeal to give them babies to give away for ratings, and more presenting an option to avoid discarded babies in the first place.

I mean, scouring trash cans and whatnot? That's just horrific, yikes. How common is it over there that they can actually reliably scour trash bins and expect to find infants?

Yeesh.