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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

News or entertainment?

You have to give it to the Swedes, they certainly know how to get people tuning into their news bulletins. The BBC report that Swedish state broadcaster SVT has admitted a "huge blunder" after a porn film was accidentally shown in the background of a news bulletin. A five-minute news update shown at the weekend included explicit scenes from a Czech porn movie on a monitor behind the anchor Peter Dahlgren.

The error is explained thus:

Usually, the monitor shows the output of other news channels - but the workers had changed it to watch a sports event on cable channel Canal Plus.

However, they did not remember to change the channel back - which, because Canal Plus shows adult content after midnight, resulted in the error.

A producer quickly spotted the sex scenes and ran into the control room and turned off the monitor, news director Mr Yng said.

"One monitor in the background, behind the newsreader, was showing some porn scenes," he said.

"It lasted no more than 30 seconds - only during the first item on the midnight news on Saturday."

While no viewers complained about the incident, he admitted there had been "enormous interest from media."

The show, called Rapport, has been renamed "Rapporn" by Swedish tabloids.

Apparently, there are no plans to repeat the experiment. However, if Teres Kirpikli, a Christian Democrat candidate in Sweden's 2002 General Election, had her way such scenes would have become commonplace by now. She called for pornography to be broadcast on television every Saturday to encourage people to have more sex.

Inexplicably, her party, the conservative Christian Democrats, reacted by asking her to leave its women's association and withdraw her candidacy from the election. It seems that the Christian Democrats spent that election actively fighting pornography and called for a complete ban in all media.

Ms Kirpikli said she had wanted to "start a debate on how to get more children". She added that she understood the party was "mad" at her because she had gone against the official line. Sweden has a negative natural growth rate, with more deaths than births now registered every year.

It may be four years too late, but it seems that Ms Kirpikli is now getting her way.
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