A Candid Conversation with the Amazing Abida Mumtaz

Acknowledging the contributions of PTV’s Newscasters in setting the tradition of first class television journalism

PTV has played a significant role in producing first class television journalism in Pakistan since the past 55 years. Initially many people associated with PTV news broadcasting either had background in radio or newspaper. PTV news casters had set high standards over the years by developing a natural style of reading which was neither too fast nor too slow. Over the years many wonderful names have been associated with Pakistan Television’s news casting medium. The legendary Abida Mumtaz has been associated with PTV since 1977 to 1992 and had taken the 9 o’clock newscast to a new level of excellence. During 15 years of news casting Abida Mumtaz had reported many landmark news stories and pivotal moments. Recently team YOLO had the honor of having a candid conversation with the legendary Abida Mumtaz and this is what she has to say to our readers.

 

Tell us about your early life?

We our 7 siblings and I am the second eldest since my father was a graduate from the Aligarh University he always advocated the importance of acquiring education. Therefore it was of paramount importance to him that all his children perused higher education.  The environment of my house was very friendly as my mother was a very caring person. My formative years were spent happily owing to the pleasant and friendly atmosphere of my house.

What inspired you to become a news caster?

I had never even thought of becoming a news caster. However, after doing my Master’s I had given an audition for a children’s program and was fortunately selected. Whilst I was doing the children’s program one day my program manager informed me that people were being auditioned for news casting. He said if you are interested you might as well get auditioned. I went in to the audition and simply got selected which I still consider to be a blessing by God Almighty.

Initially did you face any opposition from your family?

There was no opposition from my immediate family since they were all very supportive.  On the contrary many people at that point in time did not consider educating their daughters a priority. However, my father always propagated the progressive and liberal thought therefore he stood against all opposition and sent his daughters even to coeducation universities.

Which of your contemporaries have inspired you through the years?

I think all my contemporaries were flawless. However, Khalid Hameed and Shaista Zaid were extraordinary whereas Isharat Fatima was brilliant.

What difference do you see in today’s news casting as compared to that of yester years?

Back in the old days there was no concept of compromising on pronunciation and the style of delivering news. Furthermore body language and gestures were prohibited. Nowadays the news casters seem more confident and care less about pronunciation and more about body language.

 

What are your views on today’s news casting style in Pakistan where songs are played in the background to ridicule people?

Unfortunately it is true that songs are played in the back ground to ridicule people. The viewer’s especially the senior audience gets irritated by this noisy style of new casting. However, it is sad that no one is doing anything to fix it.  In my opinion there is a clear demarcation between news casting and television hosting.



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