Moneeza Hashmi, Executive Producer, PTV - A profile
|Moneeza Hashmi, executive producer, PTV a profile|
"You cannot slap a woman across the cheek on TV! I will not allow it!" Thanks to Moneeza no programme, or popular soap on Pakistan's national television can show a woman being slapped or abused. "It was common to show women being beaten or thrashed in TV serials. No one seemed to see anything wrong in it. But being a woman, I had to act since such depiction is demeaning. Today, slapping a woman is banned on PTV." That's Moneeza!
As an Indian one easily gets drawn to Moneeza Hashmi, whom I met at the Reproductive health and the media workshop held recently at Kuala Lumpur in April. She's the daughter of the late Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, equally revered on both sides of the border. Moneeza was a faculty member and her NGO, Himmat Society of Pakistan, a co-organiser of the international workshop.
finds it difficult to talk about her father, with
whom she shared a
She is among the rare women mediapersons to have reached a senior management position with Pakistan's national television. "Women must be in positions of authority to bring about any change and project a more positive portrayal of women in the media." Moneeza has introduced gender training programmes at PTV. Through a UNDP-PTV project, she produced a documentary on the "Portrayal of Women in the Media." She was also instrumental in the launch of Khawateen Times, an hour-long programme for women each night.
year on March 23, she received the President's
Pride of Performance
The political instability of her country she said posed serious challenges to her work. "But I've never been bullied, not even in those eleven years of martial law, when I went into semi-exile," she says. What was it like to live under martial law and Zia-ul-Haq who prescribed the mandatory "Chaadar aur chaardiwari" (veil and four walls of the home) pill for women? "It was the worst phase of my professional life. I wasn't given work and for years would go to office and just sit around idly. The idea was to break one's spirit. Needless to say there was no freedom of the press."
to take this anti-liberal, anti-progressive, anti-women
turning point in her career was 1988, when Benazir
Bhutto came to power. She was appointed managing
director with PTV. However policies related to
the media kept changing with successive governments.
"It was almost embarrassing to be in the
media, as the policies were so diverse."
she felt discriminated against on account of her
gender? Moneeza says, "Yes, as a woman and
as Faiz's daughter, I've had to face resistance
from my colleagues and people in power. Even today
there are very few women in PTV's senior management.
If I move to the headquarters in Islamabad, I'll
be the only woman there. But I can be aggressive,
not merely assertive to get my point across now.
I've learnt it the hard way."
and eight other members set up the Himmat Society
in 1986 to
continues to remain committed to the Himmat Society
as it grows and increases its area of work. In
fact true to its name, it's helped her steer
Write to Moneeza at:email@example.com
Profile by Soumi Das