Toned down but nonetheless challenging, TV3 game show “Brave, Brave or Not,” is back on the air.
The country’s first daredevil game show, which the Ministry of Information banned in September on the basis of cultural preservation, resumed broadcasting on Saturday.
For its comeback, the program featured four contestants, challenged to lift weights with their mouths filled with uncooked eggs, eat half a loaf of bread within a minute, and walk across a wooden bridge using artificial legs—all for a chance at the grand prize of 60,000 riel (about $15).
It was, however, a notably tamer version of its original form.
When “Brave, Brave or Not” began in October, it showed contestants volunteering to swallow live crickets, run through barbed wire and withstand heaps of crawling insects, much in the same vein as the popular US television program, “Fear Factor.”
Calling it “a silly game and the silly culture to produce the program,” Information Minister Lu Laysreng demanded it be pulled off the air the following month, after only four shows were broadcast.
Station manager Kham Poun Keomony on Sunday said TV3 has since “corrected” the show, making it more acceptable. A sponsor, whom he declined to identify, urged for the program’s return and provided for its production costs.
Kham Poun Keomony, however, said he does not believe there was anything wrong with the original version.
“In European countries, they even eat raw worms, and in Japan, people eat raw fish. I think the program doesn’t have any bad effects,” Kham Poun Keomony said.
The show is important for people to showcase their talents, he added.
“People want to expose their abilities through the program,” he said.
But the Information minister still has his doubts.
Lu Laysreng said Sunday he would watch the program before deciding whether the ministry will allow it to remain on the air.
But he said he did not approve of its return.
“The program is showing a bad culture. I do not agree that, that kind of program” should continue, Lu Laysreng said.
Thieng Vandarong, the Information Ministry’s deputy general director of administration and audio-visual, said Monday that the ministry cannot censor television programs before they have been broadcast.
But if the ministry decides that a program is not appropriate, it can offer an advisory to the television station. This is usually done informally, by telephone, he said.
If the station owner refuses to change the program, then the ministry has the right to shut the program down, Thieng Vandarong said.
That power derives from the fact that the ministry oversees broadcast licenses for television stations, he said.
Mom Soth, acting director of the Municipal Culture and Fine Arts Department, also expressed concern over the types of challenges presented on the show.
“The program should avoid any games that can cause a bad impact to the Cambodian culture and people’s health,” Mom Soth said.
He added: “Cambodian people never eat such raw creatures like the program demands the people to eat.”
The municipality “cooperates” with the Thai-owned TV3, and often broadcasts announcements from City Hall on the station.
In the meantime, Kham Poun Keomony said, “Brave, Brave or Not” will resume airing on Saturdays at noon on TV3.