Following a controversy over a recent episode of its morning show, Pakistan’s SAMAA news channel has reportedly fired Maya Khan, host of the show ‘Subah Saweray Maya kay Sath’ (Early morning with Maya Khan).

The show invited widespread condemnation from civil society, rights activists and people from different walks of life for invading the privacy of citizens.

In the particular live episode, the host of the show, Ms Maya Khan, along with other ladies, chased dating couples in public parks of Pakistan’s commercial hub, Karachi, asking questions about their relationship with each other such, whether they were engaged or married and whether their family members were aware of their meeting at a park. The poor couples were seen running away in order to avoid being caught on camera and those who did talk were quite reluctant.

Though a lot has appeared in Pakistani media about this episode, primarily against it, the whole situation also attracted international media attention such as The New York Times who had a comprehensive report covering the issue.

The controversial episode also led to heated debate over the role and responsibility of the electronic media in the country whose history is not as old as that of print media. Pakistan witnessed a media revolution in early 2000 with the launch of private news channels as earlier there was just one state owned TV channel, Pakistan Television (PTV).

According to the Express Tribune report, SAMAA TV management has not just fired Maya Khan but also her team besides taking the show off the air.

The report reads: “The decision comes after a controversial episode of the morning show, where Khan was seen conducting a ‘raid’ on a public park in Karachi and questioning couples about whether their parents were aware of their whereabouts and going as far as asking them about their marital status.”

According to the report, however, Maya Khan blamed “a vicious media campaign by rival groups for the outcome of the fiasco. She said that those campaigning against her had wanted her to be removed and this is exactly what had happened.”