Founded three years ago, Health TV is something of an odd fit in Pakistan, a conservative Islamic state of 180 million people which saw an explosion of private broadcasters in the early 2000s following the liberalization agenda of former President Pervez Musharraf, says the AFP report.
"Under what circumstances is abortion permissible in Islam"? asks another caller.
While the first question is addressed by a physician in a clinical way as follows:
“We call this loss of libido...it occurs when you have a low level of testosterone. You should work on your husband’s diet, feed him more fish and push him to exercise,” he says. “God willing your husband will get better.”
The second question regarding abortion is answered by a cleric as below:
“If anything like this is done to save the life of a mother, then sharia (Islamic law) allows abortion,” says cleric Shahid Madani.
Since President Musharraf's deregulation of the media, television has become the dominant medium in the Pakistan media market, with more than three-fourths of adults (76.2%) watching weekly, according to media research data released recently by the US Broadcasting Board of Governors.
In addition to over 100 television channels, more than 100 private FM radio stations have been licensed in the last ten years. Most of them are known for providing basic entertainment - easy listening, popular music, cooking recipes, etc. But some FM stations are also providing useful information through talk shows by experts on legal, psychological and health matters; a community radio station in Lakki Marwat near FATA has a show on modern farming techniques like drip irrigation. In Karachi, at a discussion on organ transplant and organ donation, a caller who identified herself as a doctor, pointed out that those who denounce the practice as un-Islamic forget that technically even blood is defined as an organ.
I personally experienced the pervasive effects of Pakistan's media boom during my visits there. I saw multiple, competing channels catering to almost every niche, whim and taste---from news, politics, education, health, sports, comedy and talk shows to channels dedicated to cooking, fashion, health, fitness, music, business, religion, local languages and cultures etc. In addition to empowering Pakistani women, the media have had a profound influence on how many young people learn, talk, dress and behave, and emulate the outspoken media personalities, various experts, actors, preachers, singers, sportsmen, celebrities and fashion models. The growth in Pakistan's media market has resulted in more useful information, more advertising, more competition and more choice for the public.
Here's a video clip of the AFP report on Pakistan's Health TV Channel:
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