- Aug 6, 2003Malawi bans Big Brother Africa
Big Brother Africa has been taken off the air in Malawi after the
country's parliament condemned it as "immoral".
It voted to ban the pan-African reality series from its public TV
station because of concerns about its sexual content.
Taylor Nothale, chairman of the parliamentary committee on the media,
said he had received a number of complaints, particularly from parents.
He said most Malawians felt the show might encourage young people to
engage in immoral behaviour.
"People are subjected to horrible pictures which are corrupting the
morals of our children," Mr Nothale said.
Opposition leader Gwanda Chakuamba said: "We want the government to
stop that nonsense on TV."
Most of the southern African country's 10.6 million people are deeply
conservative Christians. It also has a Muslim minority.
Malawi has become the third African nation to condemn the series
following concerns raised by religious and political leaders in Zambia
They have complained that some of the footage broadcast is too
State-run Television Malawi has been broadcasting highlights of the
South Africa-based show every evening.
It originally featured 12 contestants, each from a different African
country, locked together inside the Big Brother house.
As with the western-style format, they are voted off one by one.
Malawi's representative, Zein Dudah, was removed a month ago.
Apart from the condemnation over sexual content, the show has been
praised for bridging cultural gaps and exploding some of the myths
contestants share about fellow Africans.
Show producer Carl Fischer said: "If (the show) didn't generate any
controversy, the project would be a failure."
Rich Malawians will still be able to watch the show on satellite
Cheap malaria drug approved
A cheap drug to combat malaria is to be launched by GlaxoSmithKline.
The drug could help to save millions of lives each year in some of the
world's poorest countries.
According to GSK, a course of treatment with Lapdap will cost just 18
pence (29 US cents) for an adult and 9 pence for a child.
This is much cheaper than many existing drugs, some of which can cost
as much as £33 per course.
Malaria affects around 300 million people around the world each year.
Nine out of 10 cases occur in Africa. The disease claims the lives of
at least one million people annually, according to the World Health
Many of these lives could be saved if more affordable drugs were
This latest drug, which combines two existing anti-malaria compounds,
has been developed by GSK in collaboration with the WHO and scientists
in the UK.
The $5m development costs were shared between GSK, the WHO and the UK
Department for International Development.
Trials have shown that it is more effective than some existing
treatments and can also help people who are resistant to some older
It has now been approved for use by the UK's Medicines and Healthcare
products Regulatory Agency.
GSK said the drug would be made available in sub-Saharan Africa as soon
In a statement, the company said: "GlaxoSmithKline plans to make Lapdap
available at preferential prices across sub-Saharan Africa as soon as
local approval has been granted."
Professor Peter Winstanley, director of the Wellcome Trust Tropical
Centre at the University of Liverpool which led the development work,
welcomed the drug's approval.
"Lapdap can help us meet the urgent need for an affordable anti-malaria
treatment for use in Africa," he said.
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