(E) Health minister keeping watch on Croatia's 'Big Brother'
Health minister keeping watch on Croatia's 'Big Brother' Associated Press Sept. 21, 2004, 2:29PM ZAGREB, Croatia -- They sit together in a whirlpool bath, tell intimate stories and compete for a $166,650 prize. But the health minister has warned 12 contestants of Croatia's Big Brother television show: Stop smoking or you'll pay for it. ADVERTISEMENT
Health minister Andrija Hebrang said Tuesday that some of the players freely smoke during the show, which is televised live on Croatia's RTL channel, and that the practice violates a law that bans smoking in public.
The law provides for fines of up to $83,300, but Hebrang said he decided to first warn the show's producers and contestants in a letter. "I understand that it's a widely popular show, but the law must be the same for all," Hebrang said. Croatia's version of Big Brother was launched Saturday.