Most talk shows on our television channels present the ugly scene of a cock fight and hardly give the impression of a civilized public debate. At times, all participants begin to speak at the same time and it becomes a total tamasha wherein everybody is talking and nobody listening. The outcome looks like the proverbial fish market with all the fish on stalls gone bad. The participants fail to understand that listening is just as important as speaking. In this sort of free-style verbal wrestling, issues are pushed to the backburner or the issues and non-issues mixed up in a mind-boggling hotchpotch of stray ideas. Logic and relevance are the principal casualties. Our celebrated anchorp-ersons dont lag behind their guests either in this nasty tug of verbal war. The anchors are supposed to set the tone and tenor of the debate but, in our case, they miserably fail in their duty as moderators. In fact they often add fuel to the fire by their inflammatory interjections. In one such program of a private TV channel, the talk show host shouts at the top of his lungs every now and then and often eclipses the entire medley of guests on a shouting spree in his program. The participating politicians in these shouting matches cut a sorry figure and actually downgrade their image in the eyes of the horrified watchers. To improve the quality of talk shows, the anchors and their guests should be given some guide lines on how to debate issues and how to conclude a discussion purposefully. We need a debate that is more rational than emotional. Logic and emotion are mutually exclusive. If public speakers in a society cannot discuss issues logically, they should remain silent instead of spreading intellectual lawlessness and verbal pollution. -B. A. MALIK, Islamabad, April 10.