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German panel calls for TV-violence ban

A commission formed by the government of the German state of Baden-Wurttemburg has called for a total ban on TV violence. It has demanded a change in regional and federal laws, as well as stations’ internal guidelines, to block all but the most benign of broadcasts.

The commission, which included representatives of public and private TV, was directing its findings primarily against reality TV, a hotly debated subject here. The panel mentioned accidents and suicides as examples of what should not be shown on TV.

The group defined violence as portrayals of people suffering physically or mentally, or people shown dying in a fashion that damages human dignity without directly serving objective reporting or the formation of public opinion.

With the 100-plus violent crimes against foreigners committed here in the past two weeks continually dominating the news, the commission’s demands almost beg the question of whether domestic news may be broadcast in Germany at all.

The panel called for a technical device to be developed to lock sets against unauthorized use by children. The group also wants an independent commission to be formed to control the development of media systems and media content.

Members of the group included Stuttgart city minister Erwin Vetter; Suddeutsche Rundfunk chief Hermann Funfgeld; and Alexander Isadi, a member of RTL’s management and head of the private broadcaster Union’s youth affairs division.