We may pretend and even argue that it does not have serious influence, but it does. TV shapes the lives and preferences of people. It changes their values and causes them to behave in certain ways.
Turkish soap operas are shaping the lives of arabs. Indian soap operas are shaping the lives both indians and pakistanis and western soap operas have been shaping lives in the west and the rest of the world for years.
People start to identify themselves with characters and do , in fact, adopt some of their qualities.
Since I have spent a lot of time in 3 countries, the least time spent in my own Pakistan, I have actually seen people change as they regularly watched a certain soap opera. Like, for example, in the 90s in Cyprus, Bold and the Beautiful was a top hit program that people watched regularly. The influence of this show was so strong in society that discussions were held about this show and whether it should be continued or not!
What turkish/ american shows are doing to KSA is well known. The change in perceptions is obvious. I gave an example in an article or post ( can’t remember) of my landlord who told me that connecting all our apartments to the internet is Haram in 1999 and in 2004 I met him in his house watching “friends” , wearing shorts and talking about sharing wifi connections with neighbors! His life today is pretty much” westernized” with a hint of turkish open minded views.
20 years ago, Pakistani Dramas were watched all over south asia. The decent love affairs and stress on marriage deeply influenced society and indeed behavior of people reflected what was seen on TV. Today, they are way beyond decency. Showing weird affairs and completely different situations that could be compared to life in very free societies. Lo and behold! People have been transformed! Pakistan is as free as any free country. Free from cultural values and norms now.
Indian soaps are enforcing old forgotten values, culture and religion into people. It is working, clearly. Just take a look at the number of viewers of indian soaps in south asia! I know countless stories of people who acted out a decision they made because of influence from a certain show.
The idea of throwing the TV out of the window will not work. Choosing the right shows will. TV producers have a huge responsibility towards viewers. What they show is what greatly shapes the world they live in. It is no joke! Though it may not be THE only factor in growth, I am sure it is a HUGE part of it. Not to be taken as “unimportant”
Hey, give me the remote….