," documenting the lives and deaths of terminally ill young people.
The Dutch Minister of Health Ab Klink and minster in charge of media Ronald Plasterk have both condemned Friday's donor circus as "inappropriate and unethical because of the contest element". But they insisted they would not ban the broadcast as "that would be censorship".
BNN meanwhile said that even before going to air, the programme had had the desired effect of drawing new donors, with several people calling to offer their kidneys for the candidates who will be rejected on the show.
The Dutch health authorities countered that despite the media attention, there was no noticeable rise in the number of people registering as donors.
And the Dutch transplant foundation has vowed that a possible kidney transplant stemming from the show will not be carried out in one of its nine special transplant centres.
The Dutch doctor's federation KNMG has called on its members not to contribute to the show. "The suffering of people should never be the object of an amusement show," it said in a statement.
The federation also pointed out that a transplant organized during the show might very well not be a success.
"It is doctors who bear the responsibility for the success of a transplant and they determine who gets operated on, not the BNN producers. Because of the medical, legal and ethical questions surrounding this case the KNMG thinks the chances of this operation going ahead are extremely slim," they said.
BNN says a transplant will go through, but would not reveal details about how and where, other than to pledge there would be no cameras in the operating theatre.
In the Netherlands, organ transplants are subject to strict laws which prohibit donors from choosing who will receive their organs after their death.
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