Medical, TV authorities to probe 'Big Brother'

At least two former residents are suing production company for receiving psychiatric drugs without their knowledge.

big brother 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
big brother 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
The ethics bureau of the Israel Medical Association and the Second Authority for Television and Radio have jointly set up an investigative team to look into complaints alleging that a psychiatrist hired by the Big Brother production company gave residents of the reality TV show’s house psychiatric drugs without their knowledge.
At least two former residents are suing the company for receiving such medications.
Health Ministry director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu has said he will investigate whether the company’s psychiatrist, Dr. Ilan Rabinovich, exceeded his professional limits.
The Second Authority will send a questionnaire to all participants in the reality show during the past four years to collect data.
Ethics bureau chairman Prof. Avinoam Reches was queried by Menashe Samira, director of the Second Authority, asking him to look into the medical aspects of the complaints. A team of psychiatrists and psychologists has been set up to help Reches deal with the issue.
The authority said it will act in accordance with results of the examination and prepare professional and medical recommendations on giving medical and psychological treatment to participants in reality shows.
The examination will include the question whether psychiatric treatment, including medication, by Rabinovich, were influenced by the production staff to earn higher viewer ratings or for other considerations, the IMA and the authority said. The examination team also wants to obtain information about the current residents in the Big Brother House in Neveh Ilan, west of Jerusalem.
“We are going to look into this seriously,” Samira told Keshet, the TV company that broadcasts the show.
The Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee will convene on Monday to discuss the issue.