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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 August, 2003, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Malawi bans Big Brother Africa
Zein Dudah (centre) speaking to journalists
Malawi's contestant, Zein Dudah, became a media star

Big Brother Africa has been taken off the air in Malawi after the country's parliament condemned it as "immoral".

It voted to ban the pan-African reality series from its public TV station because of concerns about its sexual content.

Taylor Nothale, chairman of the parliamentary committee on the media, said he had received a number of complaints, particularly from parents.

We want the government to stop that nonsense on TV
Gwanda Chakuamba, opposition leader
He said most Malawians felt the show might encourage young people to engage in immoral behaviour.

"People are subjected to horrible pictures which are corrupting the morals of our children," Mr Nothale said.

Opposition leader Gwanda Chakuamba said: "We want the government to stop that nonsense on TV."

Most of the southern African country's 10.6 million people are deeply conservative Christians. It also has a Muslim minority.

Malawi has become the third African nation to condemn the series following concerns raised by religious and political leaders in Zambia and Namibia.

Big Brother Africa
The show has also been praised for bridging cultural gaps
They have complained that some of the footage broadcast is too explicit.

State-run Television Malawi has been broadcasting highlights of the South Africa-based show every evening.

It originally featured 12 contestants, each from a different African country, locked together inside the Big Brother house.

As with the western-style format, they are voted off one by one. Malawi's representative, Zein Dudah, was removed a month ago.

Apart from the condemnation over sexual content, the show has been praised for bridging cultural gaps and exploding some of the myths contestants share about fellow Africans.

Show producer Carl Fischer said: "If (the show) didn't generate any controversy, the project would be a failure."

Rich Malawians will still be able to watch the show on satellite television.

About 6,500 satellite subscribers pay $48 a month, in a country where the average monthly wage is less than $30.

Namibians snub Big Brother ban
30 Jul 03  |  Africa
Zambia clergy slams Big Brother
04 Jul 03  |  Africa
Africa swap for Big Brother
23 Jun 03  |  TV and Radio
African housemate leaves Big Brother
26 Jun 03  |  TV and Radio


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