Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind to produce films and TV serials

The Kerala unit of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is getting into production of commercial films and serials, which will be telecast on its new venture, Mediaone TV. The Malayalam-language news and entertainment satellite channel is to go on air next month.

This is the first time a state unit of the Jamaat-e-Islami is venturing into visual media. Incidentally, Jamaat mouthpiece Madhayamam itself does not publish film advertisements, a policy it has followed since its launch 25 years ago.

The channel would be floated by the Kozhikode-based Madhyamam Broadcasting Corporation. A tie-up has already been worked out with Al Jazeera.

Jamaat’s ‘assistant amir (Kerala)’ Sheikh Mohammed Karakunnu, an Islamic scholar, said Mediaone would follow the same principles practised by Madhyamam. “Like the daily, the TV channel will give due space to issues of minorities, Dalits and the marginalised. The TV channel will also have regulations on accepting advertisements, (and on) content of the programmes,” he said.

Karakunnu confirmed that Mediaone would also produce its own films apart from sourcing films from outside. “Work on a film has begun,” he said.

Mediaone group editor O Abdurahiman said their aim was to give voice to the voiceless. “We want to develop an alternative media culture as our daily has done. Mediaone TV has entered into a tie-up with Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera, mainly for sharing content on world affairs. The channel would be hived into news and entertainment after six months.”

Noting that the bar on film advertisement in Madhyamam had no link with Mediaone airing films, Abdurahiman pointed out that the Jamaat mouthpiece didn’t skirt film news either. “Our daily gives film reviews and covers film festivals exhaustively,” he said.

Among the film proposals the channel is considering, Abdurahiman said, was one based on the life of Kunhali Marakkar, a local king’s naval chief who had fought against Portuguese invaders after Vasco da Gama’s arrival on the Malabar Coast in the 15th century. The story falls neatly in line with Jamaat’s pet campaign: anti-imperialism.

Writer and social critic Prof N M Karassery said that as it strives for more space in the mainstream, it was but natural for the Jamaat-e-Islami to turn to new media. Films, which could be used for ideological campaigning, were an obvious choice. “The Jamaat is not a mere religious outfit, but a political one in disguise,” he noted.

Karassery, however, added that the move could also backfire on the Jamaat. “I do not think that the channel would make that organisation more liberal, but may expose their anti-women approach and their capitalistic intentions,’’ he said.

Prof Hameed Chendamangaloor, who studies Muslim organisations, too isn’t surprised by the Jamaat’s foray into TV media as it wants to wield more political clout and foster Islamic politics. “No Muslim organisation can stick on to the days when watching TV or enjoying music was taboo. Even if the ideology is for conservatism, political motives would spur the Jamaat and other organisations to embrace changes, he said.
A report by Shaju Philip in Indian Express Here.

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