Citizens’ response to Zafar Siddiqi, President CNBC Pakistan & CEO Samaa TV

Maya Khan's 'not apology'

On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 12:05 AM, <Zafar Siddiq> wrote:

Dear All
I have travelled to Khi to look at this matter and yesterday Maya apologised in her program for this. I can assure this will never happen again. Samaa is a progressive channel.
There are certain other directives that have been put into place as of yesterday.
I thank everyone concerned in bringing this matter to my attention. It’s really appreciated.
best regards

Zafar Siddiqi
Chairman CNBC Arabiya
Chairman CNBC Africa
President CNBC Pakistan

Jan 27 21012, citizens’ response to Zafar Siddiqi’s email above
Dear Mr. Siddiqi,

We deeply appreciate your prompt reply and assurance that the kind of show broadcast on January 17th, 2012, ‘Subh Sawerey Maya Ke Saath’ on SAMAA TV will not take place again.

We also appreciate your moral courage in ensuring that SAMAA TV made a public, unconditional apology broadcast on January 24th, 2012. However, we cannot accept Ms. Maya Khan’s words broadcast that morning as an apology. She said she was sorry ‘if’ she had hurt anyone’s feelings without any acknowledgement that what she and her team did was wrong, which involved lying to people, filming them without consent, making fun of aggrieved couples after chasing them, and demanding their nikah namas.

In fact, her nonchalant attitude and words only compounded social and emotional wounds of the aggrieved citizens as she clearly lacked seriousness and genuine concern for the people and families she has caused harm through her deceitful, defamatory, intrusive and invasive programming, a value which is in complete contrast to your assertion that SAMAA TV is a channel with progressive values.

To add salt to the wound, speaking to the New York Times on Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 (the same day as SAMAA TV broadcast her ‘apology’), Ms. Maya Khan ‘rejected her critics, calling them “an elite class that don’t even watch my show,” and said the show merely intended to highlight the dangers that unaccompanied youths face in Karachi’.” (NYT, Jan 26, 2012).

In your email to us you said, “There are certain other directives that have been put into place as of yesterday” (i.e., January 23rd, 2012). Such directives need to be made public.

Subsequent to our correspondence with you, we have been made aware of other programmes broadcast earlier as part of this appalling morning show series, in which Ms. Maya Khan pits mothers and daughters and harangues young girls in the most indecent ways along with her team (as in this show of October 2011). There are probably many other shows that you probably have not yet seen and will be horrified, as we were, on seeing, that objectify women ‘Beti ka Achar) and put them at real risk of being killed for ‘honour’ (‘Beti ki kari’). We do not accept the disclaimers that ran in some of these programmes that SAMAA TV is not responsible for the content.

In the absence of genuine apology and public information about corrective policy directives, and compensation to affected families, we will have to conclude that SAMAA TV is not sincere in its apology, and plans to continue with programming that blatantly violates the constitutional rights of Pakistani citizens as well as basic journalistic ethics and constitutes a case of journalistic malpractice.

In that case, it will become incumbent upon us, as conscientious citizens of Pakistan, to broaden our movement until corrective policies are put in place and made public along with a visible, genuine and unqualified apology from Ms. Maya Khan, specifically taking back her words and actions and accepting her misconducts, not just with regards to the show of January 17th, 2012 but also for previous shows in which she has disrespected families, media consumers and viewers alike.

We, the undersigned, as well as the over 5,000 signatories of the online petition that has been communicated to you, are ready to lobby with corporations (and their international offices if need be), that are advertising on SAMAA TV, asking them to look into this issue before advertising with this program and channel. We also reserve the right to approach to these brands if the need arises.

However, judging by your prompt response and by the apology broadcast on SAMA TV your behest, it appears that you, Mr. Zafar Siddiqi, while being genuinely well-meaning, have been misled by your producers (your senior producer Sohail Zaidi, for example, defended the program and told BBC Urdu Radio that he was not answerable to anyone).

Therefore we urge you to:

1. Make public the written corrective directives and guidelines that have been put in place, proactively leading by example as a channel with conscience which is reponsible and cares about its viewers and their sentiments.

2. Ensure a serious, genuine and unqualified apology from Ms. Maya Khan in which she accepts her deliberate misconduct and violation of the affected people, families, media consumers, viewers and the law.

3. Take this appalling show ‘Subh Sawery Maya ke Saath’ off air, as its very premise is based on the concept of moral policing and interference in people’s personal lives.

4. Ensure that Ms. Maya Khan and all your other reporters, producers and hosts comply with the new directives in future, whether they are part of the news team or the entertainment team.

SAMAA TV has many credits to its name that we appreciate, and we as media consumers, genuinely want to see this channel realise its potential as a truly progressive channel. We assure you that we will support you in the mission to translate quality into greater viewership based on dignity, fairness, respect and equal rights, not tainted by substandard hosts and programming. You may want to have a look at the code of conduct guidelines of the Society of Professional Journalists, to consult while drafting their own guidelines.

Thank you,


Ali Kazmi, Student, Islamabad
Ali Taj, Hedge Fund manager, Winchester Fund, Cerritos, California
Ally Adnan, Director, Huawei technologies, Dallas, TX
Amna Chishty, marketing consultant, Canada
Asadullah Khan, Head of Programming, Capital TV, Islamabad
Asif Alam, Financial Services Executive, New York, NY, USA
Asif Sattar, Admin Operations at Kiers Facilities Ltd, Slough, England
Dr Awab Alvi, Orthodontist & Social media Activist, Karachi
Beena Sarwar, journalist, Cambridge MA/ Karachi, Pakistan
Danielle Gehrmann, linguist, Sydney, Australia
Hassan Turi, student, Agricultural university, Peshawar
Syed Hussein El-Edroos, Business Development & Training Manager, Islamabad
Prof. Dr. Ijaz Khan, Chairman, Department of International Relations, University of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
Dr Kamran Iqbal, Self Employed · Karachi, Pakistan
Kamyla Marvi, Citizen, Karachi Pakistan
Meera Ghani, Concerned Citizen, Lahore
Mira Hashmi, film critic and teacher, Lahore
Mohsin Sayeed, journalist, Karachi
Muhammad Faraz Faheem, Senior Software Engineer, Karachi, Pakistan
Munnazir Aziz, video producer, Lodhran, Pakistan
Nadia Fazal Jamil, actor, Lahore, Pakistan
Nadir El-Edroos, teacher, London, UK.
Naheed Tofiq Mooraj, Proprietor of Candle Works, Karachi
Naziha Syed Ali, journalist, Karachi
Nighat Dad, advocate, Lahore
Noman Quadri, concerned citizen, Karachi
Dr. Osama Siddique, Law Professor, Lahore
Rabia Akhtar. PhD candidate, Kansas State University, USA/Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Raza Bashir, corporate banking, Karachi, Pakistan
Saadia Toor, professor, New York,
Sahar Habib Ghazi, Journalist, Palo Alto, California
Shah Hayat Ahmad, Citizen, Karachi, Pakistan
Saba Hamid, actor, Lahore, Pakistan
Sabiha Alwy, Educational Psychologist, New York
Shah Nawaz, student, Memon Goth, Malir, Karachi
Shayan Afzal Khan, concerned citizen, Islamabad
Siraj Khan, Financial Executive, Boston MA USA
Tammie Mahmud, Trainer & Education Program Developer, Boca Raton, FL

On Tue, Jan 24, 2012 at 12:05 AM, <Zafar Siddiq> wrote:

Dear All
I have travelled to Khi to look at this matter and yesterday Maya apologised in her program for this. I can assure this will never happen again. Samaa is a progressive channel.
There are certain other directives that have been put into place as of yesterday.
I thank everyone concerned in bringing this matter to my attention. It’s really appreciated.
best regards

Zafar Siddiqi
Chairman CNBC Arabiya
Chairman CNBC Africa
President CNBC Pakistan

5 Responses

  1. She might have done the programme in a wrong way. It was not be a good idea to show the faces of these young couples on the TV which might have definitely put an emotional scar on them.

    But we should pause for a minute and think that who allowed them to meet like this in open and closed door environment? Isn’t media itself promoting in their dramas of so called enlightened moderation?

    Where are the parents/teachers? Isn’t it the moral duty of parents and teachers to educate their children of the danger of meeting with opposite sex in a secluded place, which mostly results in sexual misconduct? As a Muslim we should just consider is it allowed in Islam?

    Why we have become so hypocrites. We call ourselves Muslim and we allow our children to go ahead and bunk their colleges and universities and meet with their boy friends/girl friends.

    The media is responsible for this vulgarity in our society. Those who object on this should look deep and ask with them would it be okay for their daughter/sister or wife to go and meet with opposite sex in parks and involve in indecent behaviour.


    • I really wonder what kind of ‘indecent’ behaviour people can get up to in parks which, as far as I know, are open, public spaces – not ‘secluded’ at all. Even if those young people were meeting without the knowledge of their families, it is not anyone’s business to humiliate and embarrass (even endanger) them in public the way that this TV show did – the way policemen started doing Gen. Zia’s times.


  2. […] In continuation with the lobbying efforts of the civil society to curtail journalistic Vigilantism as witnessed in the Maya Khan issue, a number of people have […]


  3. To affect real change, we must take names. We must expose the hypocrisy of these unscrupulous people and we must do more than just gossip.

    Since you have shared some information about SAMAA, let me tell you something even more controversial. In the past few weeks, the morning show by Maya Khan caused a great controversy which led to the entire show team, including Maya, being fired and the senior producer along with rest of the team being made to resign. The story that the public heard was that Maya was not apologizing unconditionally, that was why she was fired by the Chairman of SAMAA and CNBC Pakistan, Zafar Siddiqui. where as Mr. Siddiqui is not only businessmen but a seasoned media personality with the complete knowledge of derivation and resultant values of his idiot box.

    But I know from very very reliable sources that when the show was being aired, it was Zafar Siddiqui who was present in the Control Room of SAMAA TV. This is not a conspiracy theory, nor did he make Maya Khan do the show. It is a twist of fate that the chairman happened to be in the Control Room when Maya was shooting her highly offensive episode, live on location. The show’s senior producer, Sohail Zaidi, was on location at the time and he also knew that the chairman was in the control room.

    The chairman had actually come to Control Room to preview a new set of templates that had been developed and was supposed to check those. He remained in there for nearly two hours while Maya’s show was going on air, including that time when Maya was chasing people around in parks. At one point, he even said that “Look at this Maya; she is doing a great job and getting very good ratings. We need more shows like her.”

    This is the same man whose letter was circulated to the media and he mentioned in it that he had asked Maya to apologize unconditionally. Let me ask you, how can a host who has been congratulated on the good job she is doing by the owner of the company be compelled to apologize? Of course she will not. And all these claims of not absolving her behavior just over ratings is a plain lie, because he had himself in fact endorsed her actions while she was doing it. If this seemed inappropriate to him, why didn’t he ask her to stop?

    I must tell you that I was given this information by a very very reliable source. This person even names all the parties involved. Apart from Zafar Siddiqui, Technical Head Shahid ur Rehman, Creative Head Rafiq Rathore, technical director Ali Abbas and Immad of the Maya Khan team were in the Control Room. They are all witnesses to the episode. None of them thought this would ever happen. But it is ironic that Zafar Siddiqui, just to cover his tracks, has fired all of them so that he is not blamed.

    In fact, the head of programming for the TV channel, Server Moosavee, was at home and completely unaware of the content of the show that day.

    But it does not stop at this. I met a few kids from SAMAA a few days ago and they told me that now, there is a deliberate effort to corner people of a certain religious affiliation. The new people who have been hired by Zafar Siddiqui to replace the talented people he fired are now promoting hatred and intolerance. They are openly asking newsroom members of their religious and sectarian affiliations and the kids were afraid that they would also lose their jobs, just because of their affiliations. And there is a very strong rumour that all three members of Samaa core team (NR, ZAN, ZM) which gave Samaa the 2nd spot were also asked or forced to leave because they belong to minority sect.

    Now the top people at SAMAA are incompetent, inexperienced people who will do their master’s bidding. The head of the news is a man who was just a business desk editor at Geo News and the Current Affairs head has nothing to do with current affairs at all.

    Don’t you think it is time that we should take these fundo mindset owners of media houses and channels to the court and question not only their mindset but their ability, qualification and capacity to run the channels? Their screens always speak for the merit and justice however is this a merit that a chartered accountant or a marketing dude running a news channel and setting up an agenda who has no clue what will result what like Maya Khan Show and Mehar Bukhari show resulting in assassination of Salman Taseer? Does it make sense?

    I think one must go to court and all journalist unions and all society pressure groups must support him or her by all means like running a campaign on all the websites including channels’ official and social websites, raising voice in the social gathering, writing in the newspapers (like you did and this shouldn’t stop) if possible giving comments comparatively on balanced news channel etc.


  4. Dear sir zafar:
    mujhe haroon kehte hain. Karachi ke area liaquatabad se. Ap se arz ye hai ke maya khan ko jis wajah se nikala ap ne wo hai sazish ap ke chanel ke khilaf kyo ke maya ka programe zabardast chal raha tha. Plz maya ko wapas lao ap. Warna ye ziyatti ho gi maya ke sath. Meri baat se sirf samjhdar log ittefaq karen ge. 00923212170407


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