Valuable voyeurism?BMJ 2001; 322 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7290.871 (Published 07 April 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:871
- Boleslav Lichterman, Russian Postgraduate Medical Academy
In Russia some trauma doctors say watching television is helping them to predict hospital admisssions
A few years ago a group of Austrian students was visiting the Institute of Foreign Languages in Nizhnii Novgorod, Russia, on an exchange programme. Contrary to their expectations, life there seemed peaceful. “Why is there such a discrepancy between what we have learnt from the mass media and what we discovered in reality?” they asked a local professor. “Daily routine is boring and uneventful, whereas mass media needs sensations,” he replied.
The public's need for striking sensations is satisfied in Russia by several regular television programmes dealing with murders, suicides, and car crashes. This genre is named chernoukha (from the adjective chernyi, meaning “black”). The first such programme—which filmed in close up the dead victims of fires, crime, and car crashes—was 600 Sekund (”600 seconds”), launched …