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'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

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Live from the newsroom, we provide an overview of the stories making the French and international newspaper headlines. From Monday to Friday at 7.20 am and 9.20 am Paris time.

IN THE PAPERS

IN THE PAPERS

Latest update : 2010-03-17

Reality TV ridiculed in French show “The Game of Death”

French papers this morning cover a shocking TV show to be broadcast tonight called ‘The Game of Death’. It shows that participants in reality TV shows are prepared to go to do almost anything they’re told to do, including inflicting severe pain on others. WEDNESDAY, 17th MARCH, 2010

It’s called “Le jeu de la mort” (“The Game of Death”) and the results are shocking. The reality television show is to be broadcast tonight on France 2 and tests how far participants are prepared to go when taking part in a game show. Both Le Parisien and Libération lead with the story. It seems that 80% of those participating in the show would go so far as to inflict a “mortal blow” on another contestant.
 
So what happens? Well, candidate “A” answers a series of questions while sitting in a chair while candidate “B” is told to inflict pain on candidate “A” should he get an answer wrong. The pain inflicted is increased as the show progresses, all in the name of television and all with the jovial approval of the show’s presenter who urges candidate “B” to keep increasing the level of pain meted out.
 
But there is a twist: candidate “A” is in fact an actor. “B” doesn’t know this however and believes that the injuries being suffered are real… disturbing stuff.
 
What the show claims to prove is that reality television has rendered human degradation and humiliation normal and acceptable. It also shows how obedient one can be to an authority figure, in this case the television presenter. All in all, it’s a damning indictment of the misuse of television’s power and influence.
 
The notion behind this program is not new. It is based on the “Stanley Milgram Experiment”, a study called after an American social scientist who wanted to test obedience to authority figures, in particular to see where the terrible obedience to the Nazis in Germany is a general phenomenon or not. “Le jeu de la mort” seems to confirm this disturbing dark side of human nature.
 
Other stories in today’s French papers:
 
Le Figaro: Fillon silences internal criticism in UMP Party
 
Libération: La “Sarkomerta”
 
Le Parisien : French policeman killed, suspected terrorist link
 

By James CREEDON

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