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Wednesday, 13 June, 2001, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Is Europe's Reality TV degrading?
Portugal's popular reality TV show - O Bar da TV (TV Bar) has been slammed by MPs, church leaders and the media for allegedly infringing the participants' privacy.

The bar is only open to the public from Wednesday to Saturday, but what goes on in the apartment is broadcast on the internet 24 hours a day via 36 cameras.

This has pushed back the boundaries of good taste further than anywhere else on the continent. And this week, the Portuguese channels set up a self-regulatory watchdog as a result.

Reality television is a Europe-wide ratings winner, but are European ethical standards the loser? Is Europe's reality television degrading?

Europe Today's Mark Reid brought together two people who should know - the French television personality, Christine Ockrent, and the British newspaper TV critic Gareth Maclean, who recently spent 12 hours watching Big Brother at one sitting.

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Reality TV is too boring for words

Ipshi, London, UK
Reality TV is too boring for words. It's amazing in the world of satellite, digital and cable TV where you are faced with a myriad of channels, you can't find a single programme of substance worth watching. Instead, one finds boring programmes such as Big Brother and Survivor with no content apart from self-centred people who aren't even talented enough to be actors.
Ipshi, London, UK

This so-called 'success' has passed me by. I've seen the Dutch advertising for 'Big Brother' and 'The Bus' - apparently spending three months on a bus. No thanks, I've got my own life to lead.
Forbes Cunningham, Netherlands and UK

If you don't like reality TV, turn it off. There is always a choice in such matters. People complain about how terrible certain shows are, or books, or music, or movies. Instead of judging what's right for everyone else, start controlling what's good for yourself. Turn it off!
Gabrielle, Canada

This pathetic voyeurism by proxy will hopefully turn out to be nothing but a passing fad in both Europe and the States. Give me the old days when the only people who watched "reality TV" were security guards in stores.
Robert del Valle, USA

Reality TV is nothing but cheap TV

Tony, N. Ireland
Reality TV is nothing but cheap TV that broadcasters can force upon people. Hopefully it has run its course in the UK - look at the ratings for Survivor and Big Brother. Let's get some decent programmes as the whole point of entertainment TV is to be entertained.
Tony, N. Ireland

I have not seen one reality show so far and never intend to. I guess some people have nothing better to do. Yes, reality TV is very degrading and an insult to viewers' intelligence. I am not too surprised about the rest of the world, but was hoping that people in Europe would have better taste.
Bistrin, Canada

Reality TV is pathetic as are the people who watch it! If it is degrading? Hm, don't know, maybe more and more people watch it because they are already "morally degraded" and not the other way round. Although, "bread and circuses" seems to rule the world I would prefer the BBC to distance itself as much as possible from these programs!
Franz Pichler, UK/Italy/Japan

It is up to the participants to decide whether they wish to pander to the prurience of people they do not even know. However, to watch such material is as much a statement of one's values as to participate in it or broadcast it.
Peter, Netherlands

See also:

17 May 01 | TV and Radio
Reality TV shocks Portugal
23 May 01 | TV and Radio
Portugal clamps down on reality TV
24 May 01 | TV and Radio
Reality TV around the globe
22 May 01 | TV and Radio
The end of reality TV?
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