Are we depriving "smaller" political party leaders of their rights when we deny them the chance to debate face-to-face with "big fishes"?

In Portugal we are to elect our next prime minister Sunday. The "fight" is between two major political parties, however there are 17 political parties running for a place in our "senate". However, face-to-face debates have only been held between the 5 biggest parties, and soon the others felt discriminated and complained in the court, winning the opportunity to participate in those debates. However, television companies complained and said that it would be not helpful or useful for the Portuguese to watch 136 debates.

So, my question is, do you think that face-to-face debates should only be held between the main candidates (Obama and McCain, to give the american 2008 example) or between every candidate?

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