Television

Indonesian TV station stops WWE after mishap

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MUMBAI: An Indonesian television station Lativi TV has stopped airing several wrestling programmes amid allegations that a nine-year-old boy may have been killed by children imitating the moves of their wrestling heroes.

Media reports state that the station pulled SmackDown and all other World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) programmes following weeks of pressure from parents and educators who said the shows encouraged violent behaviour in children. In India WWE action airs on Ten Sports.

Reza Fadillah died on 16 November in the Indonesia’s West Java city of Bandung -several weeks after three of his friends threw him to the ground and pinned him 'SmackDown-style'.

His father, Herman Suratman, said that the boy’s X-rays showed internal chest wounds.

WWE has issued a statement saying that The chief of the Detective Bureau charged with investigating the highly suspicious nature of the child's death specifically has stated in the media that there is no reason to believe the death of this child had anything to do with watching wrestling.

WWE says that it first learned on Thanksgiving Day of sketchy and incomplete information that a father of a child in Indonesia was attempting to blame WWE's SmackDown program for the death of his child. Now it says that the chief of the Detective Bureau charged with investigating the highly suspicious nature of the child's death specifically stated in the media that the accusations of the family could not be taken at face value and that there is no reason to believe the death of this child had anything to do with watching wrestling.

Indonesian Broadcasting Commission member Ade Armando was quoted in reports saying, "We have SmackDown posters, shirts, cards, and other things. It has become some kind of specific culture with its own community. If there is no television show, we assume those other things will lose audience. So our conclusion is stopping the show altogether. We will not tolerate its showing anytime."

Suratman said, "Let my son be the last victim. This is a lesson, not only for Lativi and the government, but also for us parents to pay more attention to our children. In this era of multimedia, bad influences can easily reach our boys and girls."

WWE meanwhile notes that unfortunately, this is not the first time that false allegations of this type have been used to deflect attention away from those directly responsible for the death of a child. It has urged caution in making such unsubstantiated, and now repudiated, statements, especially in light of the ongoing police investigation into the actual and true circumstances of this child’s death while in the custody of others.

The police noted an autopsy was forbidden by the child’s family for religious reasons. As a resultthe police have indicated in the mediathat because there is no permission to conduct the autopsy, they are currently asking for the child’s medical records from the hospital.

Although the death of any child is a tragedy, WWE says that it is confident that the investigative conclusions will be that the death of this child had nothing to do with WWE programming.

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