by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The State Department is spending over $1 million to create a cartoon superhero who teaches the importance of “living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle” and “women’s empowerment” for kids in Pakistan.
The agency’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, or INL, division issued a grant solicitation for two seasons of an animated series to “promote security and stability” in Pakistan.
“INL would like to develop a superhero animated cartoon series aimed at an older target audience (ages 14-25),” according to the grant announcement. “This series would inform, educate, and positively influence Pakistani youth in an entertaining and engaging manner.”
“The series will incorporate social messaging that reinforces INL goals, such as counternarcotics, gender equality, the role of police in civil society, a fair criminal justice system, anti-corruption, religious tolerance, and other topics that promote security and stability in civil society,” the agency said.
The project will receive $1,250,000 to produce two 13-episode seasons of the cartoon, each episode of which will be 11 minutes long. The series will air on public television in Pakistan and will also be advertised on social media.
“The goal of each episode is to inform, educate, and positively influence Pakistani youth about the role and responsibilities of the police and criminal justice system,” according to documents accompanying the grant announcement.
The show will attempt to present “positive messages” on the topics of gender equality, anti-corruption, and the “role of police in civil society.”