Group urges reality TV to promote health
Shows such as 'Survivor,' 'Big Brother' are a bad example of how to pursue good health, says Israel Cancer Association.
Big Brother contestant Photo: Lahav Harkov
Reality TV shows such as Survivor and Big Brother provide a bad example to the
public of how to pursue good health, said the Israel Cancer Association, which
has complained to Channel 10 and Channel 2 but so far received no
ICA director-general Miri Ziv and information director Edna
Peleg-Olevsky recently wrote to Channel 10 about the fact that both female and
male participants in Survivor wear minimal bathing suits in the hot sun without
any protection from skin cancer.
“We understand that the show is based on
survival in difficult field conditions,” they wrote, “but nevertheless
protective measures can be taken – because after all you are talking about
The ICA asked the TV company to ensure that the highly popular
show shows the stars spending time in the shade, wearing long protective
clothing, sunglasses and broad-brimmed hats and frequently applying
“We are certain that taking such precautions during prime time
will arouse a great deal of sympathy and identification by the public and
encourage them to do the same,” they wrote. “Since the current series has been
filmed already, we hope that messages and recommendations on smart behavior in
the sun are integrated as text in the current season,” they said, and that next
year, the principles on cancer protection will be integrated into the show by
No answer has yet been received. A few years
ago, the ICA tried to influence Channel 2’s wildly popular Big Brother to forbid
smoking from being shown on the program, where the participants are cooped up
with each other in the villa and have no contact with the outside
Most of the two dozen participants on the show each year have
turned out to be chronic smokers, whose money allocations for food are reduced
by their cigarette expenditures. Even though smoking has been prohibited at
outdoor swimming pools and in offices, the law does not forbid smoking in villas
and private swimming pools. However, the ICA wrote, the participants unhealthy
behavior makes a bad impression.
The only response from Channel 2 was a
promise to write at the beginning or end of each show that smoking is dangerous
to health, but this has not yet been carried out.
“We will try again for
the next season,” said Peleg-Olevsky. The producers for next season’s Big
Brother have not yet received Channel 2 Authority approval because of the
controversy over the giving of psychiatric drugs to some participants.