OPINION

Turning a blind eye to television traps

Television channel heads and politicians are equally to blame for the problem of premium rate 090 quiz lines: The former due to their total irresponsibility and the latter because they have turned a blind eye to this irresponsibility for many years and thus served to cultivate it. But there is another aspect to this problem, namely the sheer number of citizens which it attracts. Within the space of 10 months, around 120,000 people telephoned these «magic» numbers, only to wait on the line for 10 or even 20 minutes, anxiously watching their TV screens and waiting to offer the answer to some outrageously inane question. But what motivates them to do this, apart from sheer gullibility? The easy answer is that the lure of easy gain transforms many of them into predators, until they invariably become victims. Another pitfall is the conviction held by many of us that we are nobody’s fool. Of course it is precisely such convictions that turn into traps. All the above still does not explain the extent of the public’s participation in these TV games. Indeed, when such games are aired for months, one has reason to believe that they have been approved by the broadcasting watchdog and other state authorities. In fact, government negligence has effectively legitimized these illegal games and facilitated the establishment of traps for the viewing public.