Munia-mania sold out, panicked-Pori Moni’ selling
Published : Monday, 21 June, 2021 at 12:00 AM Count : 1128
The customary truth, media sells sex more than any other trait is fast changing its dynamics in Bangladesh. No sooner had we stopped mourning the untimed death of the college girl Munia, Actress Pori Moni jumped into the vacant scene, exploding a bombshell with an attempt of rape and harassment.
Exits Munia, enters Pori Moni under the media spotlight. How the former committed suicide or whether the latter was a victim of a rape attempt is a different story. Only time will tell the truth and only time may shelve the truth for good. What is fascinating is the unimaginable media coverage they both had drawn within a time span of less than 40 days. Media - mania over Munia's mysterious death has surely earned the dead a much needless posthumous immoral status.
The mainstream as well as a myriad of online media had been abuzz portraying these 'vixens' as victims and villains at the same time. While one has commenced a new journey in the hereafter, the other keeps preaching her agenda, luring the media with a femme fatale move.
Moreover, their sensational stories have waned in the face of their private, lustful photos and video clips going viral in the virtual world. Understandably, where Munia failed, Pori Moni thrived with a Cleopatra like approach. But their stories have exposed a fast changing shift within our media industry and its consumers. Nowadays, a number of our mainstream media houses and maximum number of online media platforms do not only sell a scandal, but offers an entire package.
This entire package consists of the scandal of a model or actor, her friends, accomplices, family and associates, venue of the occurrence, winners and losers in the incident. In a nutshell, the scandal is sold with a number of buy-one-get-two-for-free options. It is also a dubious strategy to increase number of subscribers. Since a growing consumer market is there, why not go for a tempting package trapping and diverting the audience attention?
At times it seems, the day is not too far away when news items in Bangladesh will be sold in the shape of a daily commodity. That said - in most cases these packages keeps parroting same old facts, made often with clichéd dramatic music background themes borrowed from the YouTube. Attempts to top their stories with sex sleaze, provocative queries and slide shows are enough to suggest, the industry is currently going through craftsmanship crisis.
However, these packages are also a tool, either to promote or to demote the subject of the story. Whereas, a maximum number of media outlets waged a countrywide campaign to demean Munia, the same hadn't happened in Pori Moni's case.
Well she is an established model - cum - actress or the other way round with enticing photos, video and dance clips being circulated in the media for the past few years. But what's truly archetypical of our gossip mongering media fans, they yet love to creep into the private lives of scandalous or innocent young beautiful women - with or without fame. These days our media audience demands to know everything - from height, education, lifestyle, family & friends - to how many men the featured woman has shared bed with.
Amazingly enough, in Dhaka I have found women to be overtly curious on Munia and Pori Moni, than us men. For them a thorough detective enquiry on the two women seems imperative, as if they found potentials for a future daughter in-law in them. It actually reminds of the saying - What Susie says of Sally, Sally says more of Susie than of Sally. Responding to their somewhat lucrative queries ravenous media outlets jumped into the scene - designing required media packages accordingly.
Where we men are comparatively satisfied with luring photos and video clips, mushrooming online media outlets go far beyond digging deeper pleasing our women. However, with due apologies to our women, let's get back into the wider and sweeping impacts of Pori Moni paranoia to have gripped the nation. My readers will have to forgive and forget me at the same time.
The manner in which mainstream and online media vilified Dhaka Boat Club for its bar and additional facilities, seemed like it was the Playboy Mansion of Dhaka. Female members and non - members who went there were all bunnies, operating under the tutelage of a local Hugh Hefner of sorts. Presumably, all members of the Dhaka Boat Club are perhaps having a rough ride on top of the facing Turag River.
Ripple effects of the Pori Moni scandal had been such immense, MPs of our national parliament had engaged in a heated debate session over alcohol, gambling and what happens inside our private and exclusive clubs. This is what has become a burning issue for our law and policy makers to argue and counter-argue at the national parliament - triggered by a local movie star's alleged sexual offence going viral in all forms of media.
In the process, the late General Zia got belatedly vilified for permitting bars in the city once more. Pori Moni made a new group of enemies in the media and her social, professional circles. And the deceased Munia has reached on the brink of oblivion. Not too long ago, it must have been in late February or early March last year, when I had penned an opinion piece on the jailed AL leader and 'Madam' Shamima Nur Papiya.
At the time of her arrest, she was running her honey trapping and distribution trade from the renowned 5 Star Westin Hotel at Gulshan - 2. However, Westin never got overwhelmingly vilified as the Boat Club did in the past week. I don't want to remark on who deals with damage control and recovery more efficiently, but it is time for both our online and mainstream media to engage in serious soul-searching.
We all have a strong forbidden desire to sneak into a high profile scandal story, this writer included. Whatever the nature of that scandal may be, it is never fair to make it the number one priority in following news and stories. Concurrently, the numerous local media houses, who have sold Munia in the past and now selling Pori Moni in the present, must realise their actual purpose of existence.
Selling a scandal package works, but it works only for a fleeting period. For the local media houses, obsessed and existing on scandals, please focus on selling more sustainable news packages. Do not wait for another scandal to happen. There may be no high-profile sex scandal in the next one year, after what has happened so far.
The writer is assistant editor,
The daily Observer