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Telebasura (pronounced te-leh-bah-SOO-rah; from Spanish tele and basura, meaning "TV" and "garbage" respectively) is a Spanish disparaging term for non-fiction TV programs which are perceived to be "junk". Obviously, the classification of a particular program as telebasura may be subjective, but the term is widely used in the media in Spanish-speaking countries, and there have been attempts to define it in a systematic way. For example, the programs can be defined as ones which disobey the deontologic codes of journalists and television presenters and which diffuse values that influence people (mainly youth) in a negative manner. The term telebasura is usually associated with reality programs and talk shows where either the moderator is partial or inexistent, the supporters of a particular point of view are the majority, or insults, abusive language and uproar predominate.

Telebasura arguably has its origins in North American TV programs of the 1980s, but Spanish-speaking countries have developed their own versions of the tabloid talk show. Sálvame, a show on Spain's Telecinco which focuses on celebrity gossip (mostly of that country), is an example of a talk show which has been categorised by critics as telebasura.[1]


Telebasura is often compared to the sensationalist press. Some of the arguments used to denounce a program as telebasura are the existence in them of:

  • Manipulation of information, or confusion of information and opinion.
  • No respect of the right to privacy.
  • Conversion of human pain and misery into spectacle.
  • Focus on sex, scandal or violence.
  • Use of the naked human body, particularly the female one.
  • Playing down the consequences of prostitution and drug consumption.
  • Aberration presented as a model to imitate.
  • Scorn of any figure of authority.
  • Fighting rather than dialogue.
  • Offensive Language.
  • Cultural Relativism, and diffusion of subculture.
  • Promotion of pseudoscience and occultism.
  • Excessive focus on the private lives of celebrities and famous people.
  • Exaltation of ridiculous.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The very public life of Belen Esteban, El País. "For its critics, Sálvame represents a new low in the ongoing dumbing down of Spanish television."