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Sunday, May 28, 2023

GNN under fire for mocking victims of domestic abuse

As the case of Fatema Sohail’s domestic violence appeared on media, a Pakistani entertainment program mocked the victims of domestic abuse in a shameful opportunistic move to pull up ratings and viewership, disregarding the sensitivity of the subject.

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News Desk |

Social media fumed with fire as an entertainment program on a local news channel poked fun at the victims of domestic violence. With an absurd humor, people on social media censured the content producers for trivializing a highly sensitive matter.

A video circulating on social media shows a woman with bruises all over her face complaining about her husband brutally beating her after she went through his phone and found pictures of him with another woman. The husband defended his act and stated that he works in the entertainment industry and how she is bound to find pictures of him with other women, a plot that ‘justified’ the husband’s violent act and downplayed the woman’s stance of questioning her husband.

The skit was a satirical dramatization of the recent fiasco of actor Mohsin Abbas Haider and his wife Fatema Sohail. Comedian Shehzad Gias posted the video with a message condemning the GNN channel and program Jok Dar Jok for being insensitive towards the vile of domestic abuse.

Dunya News fired Mohsin Abbas Haider from their entertainment show, Mazaaq Raat, stating they will not hire the services of Haider until he is proven innocent in the case.

“I generally dislike shows on the Mazak Raat format for their hateful nature of comedy but Joke Dar Joke on GNN tonight went the disgusting route of mocking domestic abuse so flippantly,” he wrote in a post. “The man with the beard is particularly vile. HOW WAS THIS ALLOWED TO AIR? HOW IS THIS FUNNY? Remind me again how political correctness in comedy has gone too far? This is your mainstream comedy!” Gias wrote in his social media post.

His post incited a wildfire of criticism on social media, as netizens called out the channel for their irresponsible conduct.

The painstaking moment in the video was the audience’s continuous laugh while the woman shared her trauma. The host of the show continued to disrupt the woman while the husband asserted he beat his wife out of love.

Social Media Reactions

The netizens expressing their views opined that the channel transcends moralities in the race of viewership and ratings, while others described the program as ‘disgusting’. Many believe that media needs to thrive discourse on the subject instead of jeering the victims.

Neither the producer nor the channel owners have attempted to address the controversy as people sought a statement on the issue.

Read more: Humaima Malik speaks out about domestic violence and abusive marriage

Pakistan’s entertainment programs are often caught transgressing a fine line between light-hearted comedy and jeering at the vulnerable groups of society, be it transgender, women, politicians, or elderly citizens.

Undoubtedly, a disturbing trend that satirical comedy has overpowered other forms of comedy in Pakistan’s entertainment shows. Such programs can be sanctioned for debilitating the ethical standards in society.

Fatema Sohail’s Domestic Violence Case

The case of Fatema Sohail and actor Mohsin Abbas Haider was a reflection of the incidence of domestic violence in society, where even the renowned figures do not hesitate from implying an obnoxious practice to assert their masculinity on women.

Fatema Sohail, ever since her revelation of being the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of husband Mohsin Abbas Haider, has accumulated widespread support. Dunya News fired Mohsin Abbas Haider from their entertainment show, Mazaaq Raat, stating they will not hire the services of Haider until he is proven innocent in the case.

Several celebrities within the entertainment industry have stepped forward to testify as eyewitnesses against Mohsin Abbas Haider in the domestic violence case. Senator Sherry Rehman also offered assistance to Fatema Sohail, stating that legislatures are keen to help women fighting domestic abuse.

Read more: Mohsin Abbas fired from Dunya TV’s ‘Mazaq Raat’

Last week, Fatema Sohail came forward with harrowing accusations of domestic violence against Mohsin Abbas Haider. Fatema Sohail had accused him of subjecting her to physical assault when she confronted him over cheating while she was pregnant.

Fatema Sohail and Mohsin Abbas Haider appeared at the SP Office in Cantonment Lahore to record their statements for further probe. Police had registered an FIR of domestic violence against Mohsin Abbas Haider upon Sohail’s plea.