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'Gay Army' TV Series Axed in Poland Before Being Screened







■ Drill instructor Tony Rosenbum in Gay Army
(photo: Mastif Media)


WARSAW, July 12, 2006  –  The Polish commercial television channel Polsat has dropped plans to screen the Danish gay reality TV series Gay Army, amid fears that the company would be hit by a massive fine from the Polish media watchdog National Radio and Television Council.

It was two weeks ago that Polsat announced that it would be screening Gay Army, a hit in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

The six-part show follows a group of gays who are sent to a “boot camp” for training.  By the end of the series, the hope is that they will be able to fight with “real” soldiers.

Although unseen in Poland, Gay Army is said to have attracted a number of complaints to the National Radio and Television Council who announced that it would be “monitoring the show”.

The National Radio and Television Council has the power to fine a television channel up to one million PLN (€250,000, £170,000, $USD 320,000) if it finds a programme objectionable of indecent.

Polsat decided to drop the series, due to a “significant number of viewer protests”, on the same day that the National Radio and Television Council announced it decision to closely monitor the series.

Earlier this year, Polsat was fined £1 million PLN when Polish feminist Kazimiera Szczuka mocked what she claimed was a bigoted children’s presenter on the Roman Catholic-controlled TV Trwam.

The Council ruled that the remarks by Ms Szczuka had “offended religious feelings”.

“However absurd may it seem protesting a performance before actually seeing it has already become a Polish political custom under the conservative right,” the Polish website GayPoland writes. 

“Over the past few years several performances in public theatres have been cancelled by local councils in Warsaw and other Polish cities when the right-wing council members decided the performances were “indecent” without actually seeing them.

Polish gays are furious that Gay Army, an often funny reality show that does not push any limits in mainstream European or United States, has been axed.

The are claiming double standards – and homophobia – from the government’s watchdog Council.

Polsat show soft-core heterosexual porn programmes after 11.30pm – the time slot that was scheduled for Gay Army, which cannot be seen as pornographic in any way.

■ Lars (left) and Dennis, two of the recruits in Gay Army.

The has never been any Council reaction to the current erotic programming of Polsat – nor, as far as is known, any viewer protests.

Gay Army, made by Mastiff Media – a Danish company, stars as the drill instructor Tony Rosenbum, who was the real live United States Marine warrant officer in the 2002 America reality show Celebrity Boot Camp.

Is Gay Army “indecent”?  Judge for yourself ...  click HERE for a page of video clips from Kanal 5 Sweden who have transmitted the series.

[This report prepared with the help of GayPoland]




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Posted: 12 July 2006 at 20.30 (UK time)