OPINION

Reality TV’s POWs

The contestants of «Survivor» on Mega Channel were last year made to eat worms. This year, their trials have become a veritable torture: They are buried in the sand, obliged to hold their breath under water and locked up in cages under the hot sun. POWs are protected by the Geneva Convention, but for the prisoners of reality television every degradation is legitimate and acceptable. «What is this, a contest, a sport? It debases you, it shatters your nerves.» «Every shred of self-respect is lost in here.» The players complain but make no attempt to escape. To talk about television pimps would not be populism but the depiction of a grim reality… In order to «perform,» the players must be cold, hungry and so stressed out that they reach a point when they are ready to tear each other to pieces. Millions of euros are invested in the show but hardly any cash is spent on food because hungry players are angry players, and make for good TV… Many ask what the state broadcasting watchdog should do. Should it issue a ruling freeing all the «Survivor» contestants? Should it ax the show? But if this measure was applied to all channels, it would be impossible to fill the gaps in air time, and censorship can be unfair. A compromise could be to shift these shows to the late-night time slot, along with the horror movies and soft porn, so avid viewers must make a sacrifice to watch them…