French TV Oversight Examines Reality TV
Koh Lanta is not only an island in Thailand but also the French version of the popular reality TV show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me out of Here! The questionable content causes as much controversy as its counterparts in other countries, as well, but since March 22nd, 2013, the show has to face the accusation to be responsible for the death of a candidate. The 25-year-old Gérard Babin suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away. The police investigates whether the persons in power of the show can be charged with involuntary homicide. The lawyer of the surviving dependants speculates about insufficient hygiene and safety precautions during the shoot.
But it gets worse. The medic that was on the set for emergencies couldn't safe Babin's life and committed suicide this week. It was his wish that his farewell letter was published by the French news outlets. The dominant reason for his suicide is rooted in the criticism that many French media gave him, making him responsible for Babin's death. The yellow press looked for a scapegoat and found him by blaming the medic. The show's producer reported after the medic's death that web pages published anonymous witness statements that deeply troubled the physician. The web sites Closer and Arrêt sur Images rejected such accusations.
After the man's suicide, the French TV oversight CSA now analyzes the reality TV formats and examines whether they should maybe be restricted to viewers aged 12 and higher. If that really changes anything about the shows' concepts and their impact on the public remains to be seen.