• Germany's news in English

Minister blasts reality TV show with borrowed babies

DDP/The Local · 23 May 2009, 12:08

Published: 23 May 2009 12:08 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In an interview with magazine Der Spiegel, to be released next week, the minister, a mother of seven, called on the broadcaster to either stop the show or fundamentally alter it.

“You’re asking yourself the whole time: What about the children? What about their rights?” Von der Leyen, who reportedly watched the episodes, told the magazine.

Called “Adults on Trial,” the reality show is to be aired on the private RTL channel starting June 3. It will feature four teenage couples who want to start a family grappling for four days with all the responsibilities of caring for a baby.

"Changing nappies, sleepless nights, screaming babies and a whole lot of responsibility ... are they really mature enough for the hardest job in the world - having their own children," RTL said in a statement.

The planned show has caused an outcry in Germany with children welfare groups and church leaders slamming the programme’s creators for exploiting defenceless babies and endangering kids.

Von der Leyen said the program was based on a negative portrayal of young children.

“You’re suggesting to the viewer: daily life with small children is purely stress, means confrontation and fuels conflict,” she said.

The Cologne-based broadcaster has defended the show, saying the babies "lent" to the teenagers for the programme will be monitored around the clock by child psychologists and doctors. In addition, the real parents are in an adjacent house and can break off the "experiment" at any time, it added.

Story continues below…

RTL entertainment chief Tom Sänger said the show, based on Britain’s “The Baby Borrowers” aired last year on the BBC, wanted to draw attention to the growing problem of teenage pregnancies in Germany.

“Teenage pregnancies is a serious topic and a real problem in Britain,” Von der Leyen said. But the minister added that the rate of teenage pregnancies was very small in Germany thanks to years of sex education in schools.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Eurowings braces as cabin crew union proclaims strike
Photo: DPA

A union representing cabin crew for Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings announced that strikes could take place at any time over the next two weeks, starting on Monday.

Mysterious German U-boat wreckage found off Scotland
Photo: ScottishPower

First World War U-boat "attacked by sea monster” thought to be found off Scottish coast.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd