The National Conference of Bishops of Brazil issued a statement on Feb. 17 criticizing the immoral nature of reality shows, which have huge ratings in the country but are a “disease in our society.”
The most popular reality shows, “Big Brother Brasil” on the Globo Network, and “A Fazenda” (The Ranch) on the Record Network, feature contestants who live together in a mansion and share daily life. The only difference between the shows is that “The Ranch” features celebrities. In both cases, the audience decides who gets kicked off the shows.
The Brazilian bishops criticized the obscene language, sexual conduct and lack of a positive message in the programs.
All of this “attacks the human dignity of the participants, who are wooed by cash prizes or the brief chance to be a celebrity in the eyes of the viewers, who are the families of Brazil.”
The bishops urged parents and teachers to be mindful “of the moral formation of their children and students” and recommended that the come up with ways to foster “an essential sense of criticism to protect themselves” against these abusive and immoral messages.
The bishops also called on media outlets to “reflect more deeply on their role and limits in social life,” keeping in mind the reason they were given a license to broadcast by the State.
Freedom of expression does not mean the right to attack “the moral values that sustain society” with impunity, they said. The bishops also pointed out that sponsors of these programs should be aware that they are associating their brands with “this process of degradation of our society’s values.”