Pakistani lawmaker seeks to protect nation's youth: from Doraemon cartoons

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - A Pakistani opposition lawmaker on Wednesday proposed banning 24-hour cartoon TV channels, specifically the popular Japanese series “Doraemon”, drawing ridicule on social media in a country fighting corruption, poverty and Islamist militants.

The "Doraemon" hot air balloon floats over Malaysia's landmark Putra Perdana, the office of the Prime Minister, in the capital of Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 17, 2011. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad/File Photo

Malik Taimur ,from cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s political party, said such channels could have a negative influence on children.

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) holds a majority in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which is on the frontline of the fight against the Taliban and other militants that kill hundreds each year.

The resolution submitted in Punjab province’s assembly requested “the federal government that it make it binding upon PEMRA (state regulator) that it close down cartoon channels, specifically Doraemon, or only run them for limited time periods”.

“Children’s education and physical health is being affected by these 24-hour cartoon channels,” the resolution said.

Doraemon is a small, blue robot cat from the future sent back in time to help a hapless schoolboy and his family.

Many episodes of the animated version feature lessons about moral values, and the series has been translated into over 30 languages. Japan even selected Doraemon as a cartoon cultural ambassador in 2008.

After Khan’s party member filed the petition, #PTIvsDoraemon began trending on Twitter in Pakistan, with many people wondering why the party didn’t focus on more pressing issues such as child abuse, corruption and poverty.

“In a country where child abductions and abuse is rampant, PTI decides to raise its voice for the real threat our children face. Doraemon,” said Twitter user Assad Zulfiqar Khan.

Another Twitter user Adeel Hussain said: “When you finally wipe clean poverty, hunger and corruption. So you have nothing better to do. #PTIvsDoraemon.”

Reporting by Mubasher Bukhari; Writing by Mehreen Zahra-Malik; Editing by Hugh Lawson