Africa’s Big Brother sued because kids can’t stop watching

Cape Town – There's more controversy for the latest season of Africa's Big Brother TV show with the second "obnoxious" season of Big Brother Naija seen across Africa on DStv that's now being dragged to court for allegedly being so addictive that a Nigerian doctor's kids and family just can't stop watching the show.

Dr Olusola Omoju has filed a motion seeking an injunction – wanting MultiChoice to stop broadcasting Big Brother Naija on the DStv and GOtv platforms with immediate effect because his "family members and other dependents have become avid watchers of the Big Brother show".

In court papers seen by Channel24, the doctor says if Big Brother Naija continues to be shown, his "efforts as a father in bringing up my children" will be jeopardised, since he seeks "to ensure the highest standards of morality in my home."

It's not clear from the court papers if the doctor lost his DStv remote control and TV set's remote control for the age restricted show that employs a built-in digital parental lock-and-block mechanism, or if the TV's wall socket or the set's on-off button in his house is no longer working and forcing the family to watch the show. 

If the interdict should be granted, the Nigerian television censorship will once again affect the entire African broadcasting industry and African viewers far beyond just Nigeria since the Big Brother Naija channel and various highlights programmes are broadcast on DStv across sub-Saharan Africa in several African nations where viewers clamour to watch the reality series.

Last month Nigerians were outraged when they discovered the "secret" that Big Brother Naija is actually filmed in South Africa in the same camera house used for South Africa's Big Brother Mzansi, the pan-African version Big Brother Africa, as well as some other African countries versions, all making use of the same already constructed and customised studio facility in Linden, Johannesburg. (Read more here)

Three weeks ago controversy again flared up when the show was marred by yet another sexual assault on a housemate when a male housemate groped and fondled a woman while she was sleeping, after which he was expelled.

According to the filed court papers, naively only lists MultiChoice Nigeria and Nigeria's National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) – excluding Endemol Shine Africa that’s the actual production company and M-Net as the actual broadcaster – Dr Omoju says Big Brother Naija was included on his DStv without his consent.

‘Promotes obscenity’

He says he enjoys the “sport, religious, educational and entertainment TV stations available on the DStv plan" but that Big Brother Naija "promotes indecency, immorality and obscenity and is repugnant to the rich cultural heritage of the Nigerian people".

The doctor made and gave the court a compact disk video of a male housemate fondling a woman's breast "openly", a disk showing a man fondling a woman while she slept, and a disk to show that "some housemates have been known to walk around exposing their breasts and taking their baths in a state of near nudity (called "shower hour").

The "shower hour" footage is likely taken from earlier Big Brother Africa versions since MultiChoice Nigeria said that the second season of Big Brother Naija won't be showing "shower hour" again.

The court papers allege that Big Brother Naija was made available on the doctor's DStv bouquet without his consent.

He also contends that the practice of an age restriction and "a special code to enable subscribers [to] choose whether they wanted access to the show or not" isn't used this season, and that MultiChoice Nigeria "downplays the importance of family life and broadcast sexually charged acts".

The doctor says that if the "obnoxious broadcast of Big Brother Naija reality show is allowed to continue, this may result in the total collapse of morality in public places and in the society at large".

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