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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
'Don't ban' slap attack TV shows
Jackass (above) and Dirty Sanchez are shown on MTV and Channel 4
TV shows Jackass and Dirty Sanchez should not be banned despite inspiring children to film each other attacking strangers, a lecturer has said.

Dr Graham Barnfield, a University of East London media lecturer, said teenage game "happy slaps" was similar to stunts in the MTV shows.

Game participants film each other on mobile phone while slapping strangers.

An MTV spokeswoman said the series made clear that "no attempt should be made to recreate" stunts in the programmes.

'Still funny'

Broadcast on MTV and Channel 4, stunt programmes Dirty Sanchez and Jackass - which spawned a 2002 movie - show presenters inflicting pain on themselves and each other for fun.

Police and anti-bullying organisations have said that the "happy slapping" game has become a nationwide craze.

Armand Jenkins, 16, told ITV1's Tonight With Trevor McDonald - to be broadcast on Thursday - that he had carried out a few "happy slaps".

If the 'slaps' cross over into the realm of assault, we already have laws in this country to deal with that
Dr Graham Barnfield
"Even though it might be quite painful (for the victim) and you obviously feel quite sorry for them because they're injured or hurt or whatever and they've done nothing to deserve it, it's still funny because it's like seeing the sketch on TV," he said.

He said that "happy slappers" were now attempting to outdo one another by recording more serious attacks.

Dr Barnfield said taking part in the game has become "a short cut in the eyes of the 'slappers' to fame and notoriety".

But he added: "I am definitely not in favour of these programmes being pulled off the air or banned. The programme-makers are not responsible for these attacks.

Dirty Sanchez
We air our content in a responsible manner at an appropriate time of day
MTV spokeswoman
"If the 'slaps' cross over into the realm of assault, we already have laws in this country to deal with that."

Dr Barnfield said Jackass and Dirty Sanchez only feature adult participants and the shows are "clearly aimed at an adult audience".

"Short of programme-makers sending people around to keep an eye on kids for 24 hours a day, they have done their bit."

MTV's spokeswoman said: "We take great care to ensure that all our programming adheres to UK broadcast regulations and that we air our content in a responsible manner at an appropriate time of day.

"Shows such as Dirty Sanchez and Jackass are accompanied by clear visual and verbal warnings informing viewers that the stunts are carried out under the supervision of health and safety professionals, and that no attempt should be made to recreate or re-enact them."

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21 Apr 04 |  Lancashire
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28 Oct 02 |  Entertainment
Boy burned in video stunt
08 Jan 02 |  England

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