Nickeleodion removed from cable networks

Our listeners are worried why the Nickeleodion children’s channel has disappeared from our TV screens. The answer is that Cosmos TV, the major cable operator, has removed the channel from its programming, following the order from the Ministry of Information of Belarus.

[ERB’s File: Nickeleodion is the U.S.-based entertainment channel for children, ranked No.1 by the number of viewers in the U.S. It is broadcasted in 169 countries of the world. The most popular cartoons are Sponge Bob, The Simpsons and The Joly Beavers.

Cosmos TV carried out a poll among its subscribers in December 2006, trying to identify the popularity of its channels. The poll returns showed the Nickeleodion had a rating of 1.91, while the First National Channel received only 1.89. Cartoon Network, which is now being broadcasted instead of the closed down channel, received the rating of 1.71.

However, despite a relatively high rating, 99 percent of parents said the channel was brainwashing their kids into zombies. We have asked Viktar Kirylau, CEO, Cosmos TV to comment on the situation. He believes if children were polled, the rating would look totally different.

“In my view, it is not a correct decision. Last year, we carried a market research of Nickeleodion and received a very low rating in terms of the number of customers. The questionnaires were filled in by adults, who naturally did not watch such channels.

But, we do not know anything regarding what children choose. Using the low rating, based on the poll, for closing down the channel is not completely righteous. I will explain why.

Much more people watch Nickeleodion than Cartoon Network, despite a huge polarization of views about it. We do not completely understand the current situation with this channel,” he said.

The European Radio for Belarus has also asked Sviatlana Bunas, a practicing psychologist, to explain if Nickeleodion indeed stones the children’s mind.

“Beginning from the age of 4, visual perception of the world starts to dominate. Parents do not like this channel indeed. When we watch it together with parents, children are unable to retell the scenes.

But, this is the stance of the parents. They are discontent with the dubbing voice. It is simply not fit. The reaction of kids is that they simply sit and watch. One mother told me: “They keep watching till late in the night”.

We want the children to understand what they watch. It is hard to realize the bottom-line of those cartoons. This is the position of a majority of parents,” she said.

Eventually, we decided to obtain a view point of children, the target audience of Nickeleodion. Are they indeed unable to retell what they see?

Here is what Dasha, an ordinary 9-year-old Belarusian girl has to say about it.

“I like The Sponge Bob. A sponge is the main character. He has a friend, named Patrick, a sea star. They also have a friend – Squirrel Sandy. Sponge Bob and Sandy fought karate, while Mister Crabs who owns a coffee-shop would not allow them to do so.

They work together in the coffee-shop. Afterwards, the squirrel and the sponge went out for a picnic. Mister Crabs would also ban them from rocking on the fishing hooks.

Then, he realized that they could use their skills at work and told them to cut the sausage using karate. I want them to continue screening those cartoons, because they are very interesting and funny,” Dasha said.

Dasha has apparently managed to retell her favorite cartoon. She did not look like a zombie at all. Unfortunately, Dasha has not become part of the ad hoc expert commission, which comprises only the officials from the Ministry of Education and teachers.

Apparently, nobody is going to poll the children. As usual, the elders will decide for the juniors.

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There is an opinion that foreign cartoons, screened by Nickeleodion have a negative influence on the children’s mind. The government has already ordered for an ad hoc expertise to resolve the fate of the channel after one and a half months. The commission of experts is also to monitor the other children’s channels, broadcasted in Belarus.