German pols call for ban on reality TV

Majority party members in Germany’s parliament, in an effort to stem violence that has swept through the country, have called for a legislative ban on reality TV, citing it as an instigator.

A debate is scheduled for next week, as the German constitution prohibits censorship in all media.

Broadcasters have reacted with a mix of moral outrage and calls for self-censorship.

Joseph Theodor Blank, media affairs speaker of the majority CDU/CSU parliament group, branded reality shows as “program excess” and singled out three shows on commercial web RTL as flagrant offenders.

Reality shows are increasingly popular, and nearly all are spinoffs of formats currently airing in the U.S. or elsewhere in Europe.

SAT 1 News program director Heinz Klaus Mertes said a ban on reality TV “threatened media and reportage freedom in Germany,” yet denied that his web aired reality shows, “whatever they are.”

Pubcasters ZDF and ARD, both of whom air reality-style shows, are calling for measures to be taken against violent shows. And WDR head Friedrich Nowottny wants private broadcasters portraying violence to be fined $ 300,000 by regional media regulatory offices.

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