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Kidney contest TV show causes uproar in the Netherlands

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Kidney contest TV show causes uproar in the Netherlands


Pushing the boundaries of reality TV, “The Big Donor Show” has sparked an outcry in the Netherlands. In the programme, a terminally-ill woman will decide which of three contestants should receive one of her kidneys. Viewers will be given the chance to influence her choice. Some in the coalition government have demanded the show, due to be broadcast on Friday, be banned.

But, while describing it as inappropriate and unethical, Minister of Culture and Media Affairs Ronald Plasterk said that decision was down to the producers and the broadcaster. Green deputy Femke Halsema warned that political intervention to stop the programme would amount to state censorship.

Broadcaster BNN says it wants to highlight the difficulties faced by kidney sufferers in getting donor organs as a tribute to its founder who died of kidney failure five years ago. The controversy over the programme comes amid efforts by the EU to increase donations and transplants.

A European Union-wide donor card has been proposed by the bloc’s health chief Markos Kyprianou. Figures show a lack of organs causes the deaths of 10 people every day across the EU.

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