Porn movie on Dutch public tv causes row

A stale old porn movie is at the centre of a political row involving Dutch public television. Public broadcasting corporations VPRO and BNN are planning to screen Deep Throat, a 1972 vintage production, as part of a themed night on the history of pornographic films. Although the film will be aired after midnight and be embedded in a discussion programme, political parties are clamouring for steps to be taken.

The small Christian Union, a junior partner in the current coalition government, says that Deep Throat glorifies the suppression of women. Party leader Arie Slob says,  “It is a historical symbol of unashamed sexual exploitation and of perverse greed. The film brought 600 million dollars into the box office, but it also ruined a human being. The so-called star [Linda Lovelace] later declared that she was pressured into her ‘acting’.” Ms Lovelace was even reported as saying she was forced at gunpoint to perform sex acts.

Taboos and kidneys
Public reaction to the TV companies’ plan is mixed. Dutch viewers are used to VPRO breaking taboos on screen, it having been the first to show a naked woman in a prime time TV programme in the 1960s.

Its partner broadcaster BNN has a reputation for causing uproar. In 2007 they broadcast the Big Kidney Donor Show, in which three candidates were to compete to gain a kidney donated by a dying woman. While the show was on air, it was announced that it was a hoax; BNN’s intention was to provoke a national discussion about organ donation.

In online discussion groups, participants suggest that the Christian Union had better turn its attention to the excessive amount of violence shown on TV. They also say that people who do not want to watch explicit sex can always reach for the off button, or change channels.

Censorship
Dutch public television – government-funded, but editorially independent – is trying desperately to win back younger viewers who generally prefer the commercial channels. If broadcasters break laws in doing so, the government can only intervene afterwards. Trying to stop a show before it has been aired is seen as preventive censorship, and that is anathema to Dutch political culture. Most politicians, the likes of Arie Slob possibly excepted, would rather be seen dead than censor the media.

Choices
Publicly funded broadcaster BNN, whose target audience is the under-30s, claims that young people should be able to make their own choices and form their own judgments. TV director Maarten van Dijk says that includes offering them a chance to see Deep Throat“Particularly if the film is properly introduced by a special edition of our lifestyle programme, plus a documentary on Deep Throat.”The lifestyle show that Van Dijk is referring to will contain a panel discussion with experts such as Dutch film director Pieter Kuijpers, porn actress Kim Holland and German academic Ingo Schiweck who is a historian specializing in porn movies.

The sex theme evening on nationwide Dutch TV channel Nederland 3 has been scheduled for 23 February 2008.

For more information: radionetherlands.nl

Porn movie on Dutch public tv causes row
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