Israel’s Big Brother Saga Continues

Saar Sheinfine, the runner up in the second season of the israeli version of the Big Brother hit TV series, and now a local celebrity thanks to the intense media coverage the program receives, issued proceedings in the Tel Aviv local court today against the producer of the program, Kuperman Productions and the programs psychiatrist, Dr. Ilan Rabinowitch. According to an article published in Israel’s leading news website, Ynet, Mr. Sheinfine is suing for damages to the sum of INS 2,500,000 (approx 500,000 euros) claiming that his participation in the program has rendered him 30% disabled. According to Sheinfine, at quite an early stage in the program he wanted to leave, but was convinced otherwise by the programs production team and the programs psychiatrist, who allegedly also persuaded Scheinfine to take psychiatric drugs.

Participants in such high profile programs usually sign very “tight” agreements which are meant to protect the programs production company, the broadcaster and key personel from exactly such scenarios. In this respect, it will be interesting to see how the agreement Mr. Sheinfine signed fares this storm. Mr. Sheinfine, has obviously taken into account that the pressure he is putting on the powers that be, may force them to reach an out of court settlement with him. But even there Keshet will be taking a huge risk given that any settlement, even out of court, may encourage other participants to take a similar path. There is much at stake here not only for the broadcaster of the program Keshet Broadcasting, but also for other production companies, all eagre to see this saga unravel.

Given the public nature of the proceedings, the Israeli public and broadcasting media professionals will receive an unprecedented insight into the behind the scenes workings of Israel’s most popular TV program.

Only After 9pm

The UK media watchdog Ofcom has ordered broadcasters to be more careful about showing sexually explicit music videos before 9pm.

Ofcom issued the new guidance so as to tighten the enforcement of existing watershed rules.

Broadcasters have been told to take particular care masking or editing offensive language where possible, in order to protect children.

The new guidelines follow the controversy over the final of The X Factor last year, which attracted 4,500 complaints to Ofcom due to raunchy performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera (For full article see Ben Dowell, The Guardian).

BBC Content Regulation Requires Changes

According to Digital Spy, “Media regulator Ofcom should have the final say on editorial complaints about the BBC’s shows rather than the BBC Trust, a House of Lords report has said.

At an inquiry into the BBC’s governance and regulation, the Lords communications committee called for “the convoluted and overly complicated complaints process at the BBC” to be revamped.

The committee said that it was hard for licence fee payers to know whom to contact with complaints, particularly because the roles of the BBC Trust and Ofcom partially overlapped.

The peers proposed a complaints “one-stop shop“, in which the two regulators would “work together to resolve the regulation of impartiality and accuracy so that the BBC is no longer its own judge and jury in these matters” (For full report see Andrew Laughlin, Digital Spy).

French Broadcasters to Avoid Naming Social Media Sites

Like broadcasters elsewhere, French news anchors sometimes urge viewers or listeners to visit Twitter or Facebook to receive updates or to comment. In a decree issued last week, the regulatory agency that oversees French television and radio said broadcasters should not mention the names of specific Internet companies when doing so, calling this a violation of French rules banning surreptitious advertising (Eric Pfanner, The New York Times).