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Telebasura (pronounced te-leh-bah-SOO-rah; from Spanish tele and basura, meaning "television" and "garbage" respectively) is a disparaging Spanish term for non-fiction television 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 is usually associated with reality programs and tabloid talk shows where the role of the discussion moderator is minimal or non-existent, the supporters of a particular point of view are in the majority, or insults, abusive language and conflict 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 mainly on Spanish celebrity gossip, is an example of a talk show which has been categorized 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:

  • 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 authority figure.
  • Conflict 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 other public figures.
  • Exaltation of the 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."