Let me start with these reality shows, because a lot of people say what’s wrong with them, well I don’t know what’s right with these shows either. Sensational items sell, my it be extreme stunts, dares or people living through changing extreme environment.
With stunts a professional stunt man calculates each and every risk factor before single stunt is performed in a controlled environment, all safety precautions are taken into account and paramedics and rescue team trained to handle any possible accident remains on standby, and moved quickly as soon as the situation goes out of hand.
But with dares that are posed at common unsuspecting people with a TV camera and crew peering on them things are a bit different. I remember a TV show which was aired on Rung Tv a couple of years back where a man was dared to eat dirt from the road, and he did. He also admitted on TV that he did so because he knew all his friends were watching him and he didn’t want them to think he was a coward, he also admitted that after eating a few hand full servings of dirt he wasn’t feeling quite well. It was the emotional pressure, the hype that people feel about being on TV and the glitz and glamour of it all. Take any regular teenager, and he will crumble under the pressure and will few sure will do any thing outrageous. Which they will later suffer for but the TV channel, producers care little about it, they had their 20 minutes of sensational footage, and the victim get is 10 seconds fame.
With reality shows, again people who agree to take some challenges and they are asked to do real life stunts and compete with one and other on the team. The problem again is one media hype which influences a person’s dissection making abilities, ego issue that I have to win and for that I will have to push my self beyond a certain point, and a certain trust that it’s a huge TV show they will take all precautionary measures, they wont let us die! But will they ? (now let me come back to thins in a while)
For the audience such shows sell them sensational entertainment, which are far fetched from reality, enforcing the idea that taking dares without thinking, pushing your car to the limits or jumping in rough waters from a very high point or doing outrageously insane things with total disregard for your safety or at times that of others is something cool, and to make it all worst you are also told that this is not a Movie, but actual reality.
A few days back something went wrong on one such reality show hosted by Unilever Pakistan / mindshare which took the life a 32 year old man, a father for young kids. The sad ending to this young mans life is described here, here and here and in several other blogs around the blogosphere. Trusting the brand associated with this reality show, and it being a part of the main stream media Muhammad Saad Khan must have thought that the stunts would be under a controlled environment, with paramedics and rescue teams ready to control any unfortunate situation before he signed the undertaking agreeing that he is taking all the responsibility in case of an accident and I am sure both Unilever Pakistan / mindshare didn’t planed the stunt to end this way.
But something somewhere went unexpectedly wrong. It became more questionable when the media remained silenced, some people said the victim who was an excellent swimmer drowned in waist deep water, No footage or prove was made public to clarify explain how or what happened. To make it worst both the (so called) reputable internationally affiliated companies with absolute disregard to any corporate social responsibility refused to even provide any support to the victimized family.
Now these are the brands we put our trust in and in return his is the irresponsibility they show towards us and also the main stream media also fails to do their duty just because their major source of revenue comes from these big brands.
Now we must practice out basic right to raise our voice and demand these corporate giants an explanation they owe not only to these families but also to their customers in the country and around the world So that such brands can show a bit more responsibility and respect towards the people who work for them and help them promote their products. Or simply because we don’t want another Saad Khan to fall victim anywhere in the world ever again.