The death of Saad khan has slowly made its way to the mainstream media. I have been hearing that GEO and Dawn have recently covered it. Meanwhile there has been a lot of discussion,heated debates,questions and grief over the incident on twitter and Facebook. The news was first brought up by Farrukh Ahmed, his message on twitter made the most impact it read:
@Farrukhahmed: is thinkng while we sleep, some1 is lying in a casket in a foreign land waitng 2 return only 2 B put away 6 feet undr. RIP Saad Khan
@Farrukhahmed: 2 all blaggers: need your help in raising voice against a miserably organized game show arranged by unilever which took the life of a good friend. unilever is refusing to disclose the details / video footage of the event. pls RT
Today am trying to do my part in highlighting the freak accident that took Saad’s life. Saad a champion swimmer,a banker, and most importantly a 32 year old father of four has left behind a widow and a grieving family. One can only imagine the condition of his friends and families, their never ending questions that have only met silence so far. Saad was participant in a reality show commissioned by Unilever and mind share, two multinational giants, who still have not been able to elaborate the circumstances in which the tragic accident took place.
Here is what we know:
Pakistani contestant Saad Khan, 32, was swimming across a lake while wearing a 15-pound backpack when he called out for help and then disappeared underwater, according to Fareshte Aslam, information officer for Unilever Pakistan, the show’s sponsor.Horrified co-contestants and crew rushed to try to save him but could not find him in the murky waters of the lake in the Thai capital of Bangkok, where the show was being filmed, according to Aslam, who was recounting reports of those on the scene.Divers later recovered the body of Khan, she said.The death came during filming of the show’s 10th episode on Aug. 19, but it was not publicized until Khan’s body was returned home to Karachi.
Unilever Pakistan accepts no liability for Khan’s death, Aslam said, but added that the company is in discussions to provide for Khan’s wife and four children ‘out of rightness.’
For over a week now I have been urging people (on twitter and facebook) to stop jumping to conclusion. Hence wait for an official release and work our way forth from there onwards. However the ‘out of rightness’ philosophy by Unilever makes me want to join in the bandwagon of online crusaders. Coming back to sanity I must use my rights to ask questions which Unilever might as well answer ‘out of rightness’ or a more appropriate corporate term ‘out of liability’. The project was commissioned by Unilever (with multiple vendors involved ), and therefore, they owe the public an explanation, supported with concrete evidence. Consequently the public has all the right to know and as consumers have the right and responsibility to demand explanation and documentary evidence.
Sabeen Mehmud’s blog on Saad’s death elaborates further on how the corporation works, further elaborating on how the corporate world is a soulless machine. However Saad is no more and we should not let heartless corporate world snub the mourning.
Our struggle is to obtain documentary evidence of Saad’s death. Not only that but also assurance backed with evidence that all types of security measures were taken to prevent accidents. Saad’s death raises a lot of questions regarding the importance of safety and precautions for these reality shows.This is a serious issue which has cost a young man his life. Unilever and Mindshare owe explanations to the grieving family.This was not a one of a kind reality show, many reality shows of the same caliber are aired in various countries. This incident also open doors to the world of freak reality shows in Pakistan where security measures are never considered. Many tv channels still air reality shows where the participant is meant to prove his/her ’strength’ by participating in dangerous stunts , with no apparent security measures. The question now regarding the creditability of these kind of entertainment shows– least concerned about security measures– should we allow them to continue airing for the sake of entertainment and commercialism?