02 Aug, 2007

Dawn News

02 Aug, 2007

Today I was a guest on a talk show on Dawn News, Pakistan’s latest English language television station. On the show, I represented Alhamra Publishing and shared my thoughts (and publisher Shafiq Naz’s thoughts) about the English publishing industry in Pakistan.

The overall theme of the show was on reading habits for Pakistani youth, and if my schedule hadn’t been so crazed I’d have been able to participate in a larger discussion with Bina Shah (fellow writer and also a new friend) and Muneeza Shamsie (well-respected literary critic and writer).

Their segment of the show was broadcast after the one-on-one with me. As it was, I had to shuffle my schedule to get to the station on time. Interesting enough, Dawn News pre-records its talk shows in DHS, in a separate space from where its news shows are recorded—near the seaport. I had to wait for almost an hour for the hosts of the show to turn up. They, apparently, had got caught in a traffic problem between the two stations, and from what I gathered through conversations with another host and a cameraman, that’s something that happens quite a bit with a TV station that has two venues. A large chunk of my time was taken up with makeup, and I emerged from the session looking glamorous, but not at all like myself.

All in all, the session was fun and the hosts were great…and it was good to see television in Pakistan expanding. Dawn News is still relatively new, and many criticize the station as serving the elite since it is Pakistan’s only English language TV station. And overall, it’s generaly accepted that the Urdu Geo TV, the first local television station outside of government-run PTV, will continue to dominate the national TV news. It’ll be interesting to see if Dawn can make its presence felt on the larger international front.