Reality TV shows to continue on air

After an unexpected 24-hour break, Greeks were allowed yesterday to resume their daily scrutiny of 26 young people’s antics, as televised live on highly popular reality shows run by the country’s two biggest private channels. Ignoring Thursday’s unilateral decision by its chairman, Vassilis Lambridis, to temporarily ban Mega’s «Bar» and Antenna’s «Big Brother 2» programs on grounds of indecency, the National Broadcasting Council (ESR) voted yesterday to let the shows go on. In mitigation, it decided to write to the channels recommending that they broadcast the programs at a later hour and with a higher warning designation for underage audiences. Both programs are now aired at 10 p.m. ESR decided not to even discuss Lambridis’s ban. The decision to write to Mega and Antenna was made by an 8-1 majority, with Lambridis and another ESR member abstaining from the vote. The programs, each of which focuses on the quotidian doings of a group of young people cooped up in restricted spaces, have been accused of intrusiveness, indecency and providing poor role models. Press Minister Christos Protopappas hailed the council ruling for «providing a positive outcome, following the intense discussions of the past few days.» He added that «it is time» TV channels started to regulate themselves. Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos stepped into the debate to propose that the shows are broadcast after midnight.«My personal opinion [of the shows], as a parent of young children, is not positive,» he said.

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