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07/23/2013

Condom commercial too hot for TV in Pakistan

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 8.59.40 AM

In Pakistan, a country that is struggling to curb its growing population, a condom commercial has been called too racy by broadcast regulators and ordered off the air.

The 50-second ad stars Mathira, a well-known actor and model who plays a new bride.
After a few scenes where she's shown pampering her husband, her neighbour finally asks Mathira's husband how he keeps his beautiful wife so content.

Screen shot 2013-07-23 at 9.02.39 AM

"Bring Josh into your life," the husband says, holding up a condom package. The condoms are distributed in Pakistan by U.S. non-profit DKT International, which specializes in family planning issues.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PERMA) has ordered broadcasters to take the ad off the air because it is “indecent, immoral and in sheer disregard to our socio-cultural and religious values.”

“Airing of such immoral advertisement on Pakistani channels and that too in the holy month of Ramazan warrants serious action,” Pemra spokesman Fakharuddin Mughal told Dawn, an English daily newspaper.

Dawn quotes UN statistics that show a third of Pakistanis have no access to birth control and its 180 million population is growing by more than two percent a year. Around a third of Pakistanis who want birth control have no access to it, according to UN and government statistics.

Rick Westhead is a foreign affairs writer at The Star. He was based in India as the Star’s South Asia bureau chief from 2008 until 2011 and reports on international aid and development. Follow him on Twitter @rwesthead

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