Transnational Media is a Media which is not restricted by geographical boundaries, Also transnational Media’s coverage creates a bigger and stronger impact on the viewers. It’s an open secret that post 9/11 Muslims have been framed a certain way by the transnational media. The entire Muslim community worldwide has to bear the brunt of an action that was committed by a handful of ill-reputed individuals for reasons unknown. started last decade has severely damaged Pakistan and Pakistani people’s reputation. One of the main reasons that this misrepresentation or exaggerated versions have been doing the rounds in international media is due to a lack of effort by our government and local media in building a counter narrative also ineffective implementation of our foreign policy has further worsened our position globally and hence we need to bring Pakistan out of the International dirty portrayal and that can be done through strong and positive content arts and films, dramas and social media branding of Pakistan.
I was astonished to the extent of literally getting teary eyed after watching Pakistan’s portrayal in the American series ‘Homeland’ where women are shown just as props covered in multi-layered Burkhas, All men fit into the media criteria of a person looking like a terrorist with beards, religious overbearing and as comfortable with weapons as someone would be with a pet dog or a kitten.
The local means of transportation shown in the film are animals and cheap vehicles like cycles etc. Which world are they showing? That’s a very alienated narrative for me who is an adult Pakistani and someone well-travelled in the country. This English season has a worldwide audience and the way it projected Muslims is totally an unauthentic depiction.
Not just the western spectrum of the media, even the Indian belt has more often than not stereotyped Muslims. The recently released Bollywood movie “Kalank” has shown only Muslim characters as violent people. Based on the aftermath of partition of India & Pakistan, Kalank has shown only Muslims doing violence on Hindus and Sikhs in the Muslim majority areas. The film has shown a non-neutral stance on the historic partition, It has distorted history by only showing Muslums as the offenders and as butchers rather than victims which they actually were in the larger picture.
In another 2018 release “Padmavaat” a period drama based on the queen Padmini and the Rajput Clan of 17th Century. The film has one Muslim character which is modelled on a real life Muslim emperor “Alauddin Khilji” who has been shown as a barbarian and a devil without a cause. Even every person belonging from his Muslim family is shown as either a harasser or just an inhuman personality and who eat raw meat and would kill their own family members just because of petty reasons. Also Muslims have been shown as people who mistreat their women.
Surprisingly even in the Muslim world’s media, ab overbearing of topics such as extremism, women regression and discrimination and culturally spoilt and unethical. In Pakistani film Khuda ke liye they have shown only Pakistani terrorists and have shown how Muslims are enemies of Muslims themselves. The film was released worldwide and did give the audience the impression that Muslims aren’t even loyal to themselves so how can they coexist with other people.
There is a stark distinction between how international media treats a news which have a Muslim culprit and the one with a white culprit. A Muslim criminal is instantly claimed and termed as a terrorist, even before checking the facts and reaffirming the situations, the media verdict is already planned and framed in a certain way. Whenever American or any white person commuters a crime he is either termed as a mentally disturbed person just so that entire community or nation doesn’t gets it’s image or reputation diluted. American Media portrays a white terrorist as a lone wolf or mentally sick but a Muslim or a Pakistani involved as simply a “Terrorist”. This negativity can be curbed through the medium of effective communication and that’s the need of the hour.
Even the recent egg man incident was appreciated, if a Muslim or a Pakistani would have protested in such a manner, the media would have ripped the entire community’s sentiments and image.
The leanardo Dicaprio starrer, Body of Lies motion picture which is based on the Middle Eastern and Arabic World is an example of Media Misrepresentation of Muslims. It can be majorly observed in the film that the makers have tried to cultivate this in the mind of the audiences that CIA are the real heroes who are saving the world despite all the bloodshed and cruel acts they do. Cultivation has been done in the film as they have shown that even if CIA members kill the local people of Muslim countries it’s actually for the betterment of their structuring.. The killings and beatings if CIA has been justified in many scenes of the film be it in the scenes where the companion of Leonardo in the film dies after the attacks or scenes towards the climax. Such repeated scenes cultivate the ideas of CIA killings being justified in the name of world humanity which is so clever of the makers.
The film also shows proves the magic bullet theory right, it shows that the people are so much injected by the media that they let it affect their opinion and actions and even their behavior atowards things. They have shown in the film how due to media portrayal Muslims can be stereotyped and people believe everything that the media shows this stands true for the magic bullet effect which says that media injects news and their frame in the public’s mind and this is proven right in this film which is disappointing reality.
The Netflix series “sacred games” have also shown Muslims involved in the underworld Mafia. The series shows Muslims characters to be sinners and with no morals or ethics. In such international platforms discriminatory or stereotypical content should not be shown or highlighted.
The Indian film “Veer Zara” releases in 2004, The film although looks like an epic love story from its exterior but is actually a propaganda film against Pakistanis especially the judiciary of our nation. The film portrays Pakistanis as mean and betrayers. They have shown that in Pakistan any Pakistani through his power can term any Indian as a terrorist and an Indian agent without any proof and evidence and can put the Indians or foreigner behind the bars and get them punished for life. The film shows that Pakistani’s are not trust worthy and are heartless who will do anything to take revenge from Indians. This is a romantic tale which rotates around a Muslim young lady 'Zara Hayat' who falls in love with a Hindu person named "Veer Partab Singh". She leaves all her cultural, furthermore, religious values to adopt Hindustani culture. In this movie, image of the muslins were shown negative. Hindu's mentality towards Muslims is shown caring, friendly and hospitable whereas Muslims are depicted as greedy, untrustworthy and having weak assurance.
The recent controversy of 2 Hindu girl’s forceful conversion in Sindh, Paksitan could caused international outrage and a stir in the transnational media, a video statement by those two girls were released where they confessed not being forced into marriage or Islam and even the judiciary of Pakistan stated that the conversion did not happen. However the transitional media only focused on the conversion but even after things got clarified. This international media coverage has given an impression of Muslims being forceful people who force people into their religion without consent and humanity. Even when things are clarified the media still focuses on the negative aspects and just glorify the news which is anti-Muslims.
In Hollywood film, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The writer has portrayed Pakistan and Pakistanis in the utmost disgusting manner. In the film they have used Urdu in a very crucial scene of the film. In the film the national language of Pakistan has been badly insulted as it’s only used to time and gain repeat the phrase of “Main tumhe mardunga” “I will kill you” as if Pakistani’s only speak about violence and that’s all that they know of. Pakistan has been shown as a terror hub of the world and the team in the film decides to kill all the supposed wrong people of Pakistan to save the world. This is utterly gross and disappointing.
Muslim representation in the transnational media is disappointing and it needs to be altered now.
If Bollywood and Hollywood or International Media can grossly exaggerate the extremist elements in our country and religion why can’t we exaggerate the modern and peaceful elements and beauty of our country and that’s exactly what we need to do