Manama: A privately-owned Saudi television station has waded into controversy and possibly legal problems after it informed a participant in a live programme that his father had passed away.
Bedaya TV was broadcasting one of its reality programmes that made its fame when the producer approached one of the participants, Ebrahim Awad and held his hand.
Ebrahim was perplexed, trying to make sense of the unexpected situation, until the producer told him that his father had died.
The young man could not believe and started jumping in the studio while some of the personnel sought to calm him down.
A deluge of condemnation comments flooded social media, expressing shock and calling for harsh punitive measures against the programme crew and the channel itself.
“They were supposed to be considerate, compassionate and careful with his feelings and not shock him so bluntly and live on television,” Faten posted. “The channel should have been truly supportive instead of disregarding his feelings and using him as part of their reality show.”
Abu Mazen said that the authorities should shut down Bedaya TV for its rude behaviour towards the participant and his family.
“There can be no other option since they were totally inconsiderate in their attitude and unprofessional in their behaviour.”
Another user said that the information ministry should take the station off the air for breaching the privacy of a participant and his family in a reality show.
Abdul Kareem Al Qadhi, a legal consultant, said that the channel could legally be asked to apologise and to issue a pledge that such a breach of privacy would not repeated.
The channel could also be forced to shut down its operations, he said in his comments.
In a statement, Bedaya TV said that what happened was not part of its policy and insisted that the producer and another staff acted on their own.
“The channel is truly keen on respecting the feelings of all people and an investigation has been launched to determine responsibilities. In the meantime, two people have been suspended from work pending the results of the probe. Whoever is found guilty will be sacked,” the statement said.
Bedaya TV, launched in 2005, targets mainly young people.