A tv reality show which centres on people competing for a dying woman’s kidneys has been condemned by the Dutch cabinet and MPs, a spokesman for the European Commission and a host of foreign broadcasters and newspapers.
Dutch media minister Ronald Plasterk, who called the show ‘unacceptable’, says the media law does not allow him to ban the programme before it is shown while an EU spokesman said it is in ‘extremely bad taste’.
The BBC, the Guardian, the Times and Die Welt have all commented negatively, with the Times calling it a ‘macabre contest’.
Despite the condemnation, the tv company BNN says it will go ahead with the broadcast. In the show, the terminally ill 37-year-old Lisa will choose which of three kidney patients will receive her kidney. The public can help her decide by sending sms messages.
BNN says the programme is a serious attempt to highlight the scarcity of donor organs and to honour the memory of the broadcaster’s founder, Bart de Graaff, who died five years ago at the age of 35. De Graaff suffered from kidney disease all his life, which stunted his growth and eventually killed him, despite a kidney transplant in 1997.
In the meantime, the broadcaster finds itself under siege from a barrage of camera crews. A spokesman would not explain how the donation has been arranged, but did say ‘We’re not promising something we cannot deliver.’
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