By aggressively racing each other for more ratings and revenue, the quality of Pakistani TV talk shows continues to spiral downward near rock bottom. We are flooded with political TV programs that host supposedly ‘enlightened’ popular figures that, without hesitation, turn the media platform into fighting pits and verbal – and even physical, in some cases – boxing arenas. Ad-hominem attacks, expletives, wak-outs and other unsightly acts have become the norm. While it may be commercially lucrative to pool in viewers by creating unnecessary hype and hoo-ha, local producers seem to forget that these shows leave a long lasting influence on consumers.

A lack of emphasis on professionalism as well as ethics, accuracy and balance in views continue to taint the quality of TV talk shows in the country. Media programs should be devised in such a method that a code of self-responsibility and respect for moral values is strictly followed. Much of this deterioration in content and execution is contributed by the mushrooming of TV talks shows all over the country, but mainstream channels are no better either; time and again, we have seen politicians and celebrities receive subpar treatment on air while also dragging each other for shoddy points.

The civil society will continue to raise concern on the decaying state of Pakistani media content, talk shows specifically, but the onus of improving performance and decorum ultimately lies on the media management teams, producers and talk show participants. Without regulating itself on professional lines, Pakistani media simply becomes a tool in catering to the corporate greed at the expense of their audiences and, most importantly, social ethics. National media organizations should focus on the professional training of journalists and TV show hosts, and implement media ethics so that a culture of responsible and positively influential media can flourish.