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Imitation of public figures... Any message conveyed?

By Talal Al-Ghannam (With photos)

KUWAIT, Sept 15 (KUNA) -- Every Ramadan viewers are swarmed with television

shows which feature artists imitating public figures and leading politicians,

making many people wonder whether the field of entertainment is suffering

culturally, socially, or poor quality of the texts was the problem. Ramadan this year was also not far from the monotonous, naive and boring

style of imitation of public figures, a matter that makes us question the

professionalism of such shows or the message they try to convey to viewers. Kuwaiti National Assembly (parliament) Speaker Jassem Al-Kharafi stressed

in a press statement earlier that all media institutions should uphold the law

and not to spread discord, asserting that a show which simulated parliamentary

practices in a comic manner was fine as long as it stays away from fomenting

strife in the society.

Dr. Khaled Al-Qahs, media professor at the Department of Mass Communication

at Kuwait University, said he objects to any mockery of a public figure or any

sarcasim to make people laugh without addressing an key issue. He told KUNA that such shows had emerged in many Arab and foreign countries

in which hosts nicely simulate the speech, dress or movements of a well-known

figure, which are usually politicians, actors, singers and television


Al-Qahs said that these programs rely heavily on the ability of the host to

imitate a public figure in a creative way and also employs this work to convey

a particular message.

He recalled many famous television programs that had emerged in the United

States and Europe several years back which in which political figures were

imitated, including "Saturday Night Live". This program, Al-Qahs said, the show used to host each week a media or

political figure and such program had a clip on imitating a personality.

He pointed out it is interesting that such shows did not stop at television

but even covered the cinema where a wave of films emerged to imitate famous

scenes from movies such as the movie "Scream". The movie used to imitate

well-know artists in a comic manner. Four parts of the film have so far been

produced. He said these programs are on the rise on satellite and television

channels, leading to a fierce competition to attract viewers. Asked why such programs enjoy relatively high rating even though they are

redundant, Al-Qahs said these programs are produced quickly and are

inexpensive compared to others. He said that a satellite channel program of this nature was briefly aired

during Ramadan only to be stopped by the Minister of Information for violating

the audio-visual law. The program mocked a number of ministers and parliament


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Publication:Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
Date:Sep 16, 2009
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