TV banhammers dropped abroad

The United States of America prides itself on one of its basic founding principles: the right to free speech. The Constitutional right to blurt out (almost) anything we want gives us creative expression, which is a cornerstone of America's gargantuan entertainment industry.

We'll put whatever we want on television, as long as it's somewhat entertaining and sells enough beer and deodorant to make it profitable. Because of this, we let things such as "technical accuracy" slide--most people watching Grey's Anatomy care more about what's going on in between Meredith's sheets than whether she's properly clamping a systemic artery.

Not so in Italy, where a prominent medical group is protesting hospital dramas for their many medical gaffs, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The National Federation of Medical Colleges has singled out American-made doc shows ER, Grey's Anatomy, House, and Scrubs, along with several Italian productions, as major offenders and is calling for Italian networks to stop airing them.

"These programs are teaching viewers inaccurate views on medicine," said NFMC president Annalisa Silvestro. "They are spreading misinformation." In other words, if George Clooney offers to give you a tracheotomy, the NFMC says it's best to kindly decline his offer. However, she was curiously silent on how well the amorous nature of TV docs was representative of real-life hospital hookups.

Over in France, the country's broadcast authority has decided to keep its kiddies TV-free, says the Associated Press. France has banned programming aimed at children ages three and under, claiming what your mother has told you all along: TV is bad for kids! [Editor's note: Even Yo Gabba Gabba!?!?]

"Television viewing hurts the development of children under 3 years old and poses a certain number of risks, encouraging passivity, slow language acquisition, over-excitedness, troubles with sleep and concentration as well as dependence on screens," the High Audiovisual Council said in a ruling.

The debate about using a television as an impromptu babysitter has become a global issue, with most experts agreeing that plopping a baby in front of the tube isn't the best way to grow up. But all-baby networks, such as BabyFirst TV and News Corp.'s Baby TV, have popped up over the last few years amid the criticism, claiming that their programming helps foster the parent-child relationship. How? By fighting over the remote?

What's your take? Have you tried to set a broken leg after watching Scrubs? Is television turning our babies into zombies? Comment below!

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