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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Understanding the role of Pakistani media in promoting bullying

Bullying behavior may be used to gain social status, show strength and achieve domination. This sounds so true of the Pakistani elite. Overall the cause of bullying behavior depends on multiple issues including individual, social and family issues. We must understand these precipitating factors to enlighten society at large.

Almost every Pakistani household starts the day with news headlines, political analysis, morning shows, musical programs and drama series which run round the clock. News headlines start with theatrical performances of political leaders and their supporters. Well rehearsed slogans are chanted, foul language is used for opponents while nobody thinks about the face of Pakistan being blemished. Still, Pakistani media keeps on mentioning the names of all these performers as leaders!

It is so disturbing to see the Pakistani elite exhibit aggressive and violent speeches over and over again. This is how we are promoting name calling to threaten the integrity of our competitors?

Read more: UN human rights chief urges India to end bullying of Muslims, Christians

In our everyday life as well we keep hearing very often that certain people are labeled as “Bullies” at different settings of social interactions. Such interactions can be witnessed and experienced in all areas of our everyday life. One can come across such overwhelmingly persuasive and suggestive individuals at work, within the family and while socializing in general. Such “Bullies” in almost every culture get away under the façade of perfectionists, high achievers and born leaders.

How Pakistani dramas are responsible for bullying?

Pakistani TV dramas are further strengthening the behavioral tactics which let some segments of the society prevail over others. In almost every popular drama serial there is a wicked, manipulative character whether male or female at work or in the family setting who keeps on controlling the nerves of others around. I abhor to watch such  dramas but generally our public gets glued to the screen and get amused by the overcharged and humiliating dialogues between various characters. The topics range from marital disharmony to feudalism but the main message is that whenever a vulnerable woman takes initiative to talk about her rights she is confronted either by her husband and in-laws or the society in general.

I wonder what are we trying to achieve out of such art. Are we trying to promote bullyism and undermining? It is so vital for each one of us to keep reflecting on our behaviours. According to a literature search, Bullying behavior may be used to gain social status, show strength and achieve domination. This sounds so true of the Pakistani elite. Overall the cause of bullying behavior depends on multiple issues including individual, social and family issues. We must understand these precipitating factors to enlighten society at large.

Morning shows, schools, work places can serve as platforms to provide information and education to be able to differentiate between bullying, undermining and assertive behavior.

Read more: Instagram to now let users filter insults in DMs to reduce online bullying

Bullying is a repetitive behavior that induces fear in the victim

As a result, the victim is forced to modify his/ her actions to avoid further bullying. Undermining is very similar to bullying and is yet another negative behavior. Undermining means that the victim’s self-confidence is smashed in such a way that the victim becomes doubtful about his/ her decision-making ability. As a result, the victim will rely more on the perpetrator for undermining and hence the power imbalance continues.

Addressing such negative behaviors is a multi-step process. Firstly it needs posters, pamphlets and policies at schools and workplaces which define these behaviors to let the victim identify with the wrong he/she is subjected to. Prevention strategies should also be clearly stated and workshops organized to further spread the message.

During the workshops group activities provide an opportunity to create a better understanding between the participants. An appropriately trained Psychologist can take observations and then give individual feedback to attendees. This can help infuse confidence in the vulnerable and engage aggressors to reflect on their behavior in a no-blame environment.

We need to embody assertive behavior as a nation. This is the key to pursuing goals and meeting objectives. It calls for learning the best way to express ourselves. We should show more of this art in our drama serials as well as acquire it as means of coaching in schools and work places. It is easier said than done because one has to unlearn the old submissive or hostile attitude and discover new ways of positive communication. It is the art of saying “NO” in a calm and positive way. One golden principle of assertive behavior is to respect self and others. It calls for to say or do things with utmost sincerity which automatically reflects in the body language. Conflict resolution at work place and schools can be initiated by identifying and counselling the offender and the victim.

Read more: What’s behind China’s bullying of Australia? It sees a soft target — and an essential one

Imagine, how cool it would look if Pakistani politicians could learn assertive behavior and appear before the nation in a Q & A session just like the politicians of the western world. I am sure many of you have watched the debates which are facilitated between the political opponents in the western world. That just reflects the overall tolerance and acceptance of those societies. The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a very good example of an assertive and diplomatic politician. His speeches were motivating and informative. If our role model is Jinnah then there is no room for the stage performance we see every day.

 

The author has done MBBS, MCPS, FCPS, MCCEE, and is a consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist at Mega Medical Complex. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.