I find it curious that we are doing both 'drama' and 'documentary' this year when the latter is enduring quite a significant transition. I wrote a Media Ethics paper last year, relating Baudrillard's theme of seduction to the lucrative advent of 'Reality TV'. Also dubbed 'docu-drama', shows such as Big Brother have called the nature of the genres under question, raising a number of ethical questions along the way.
This is just the beginning of the essay. I'll be saving the rest for later on.
Perhaps the most seductive television format to emerge over the past decade is what can loosely be termed 'reality TV'. Programs such as Big Brother, Australian Idol, Survivor, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and The Block have continued to dominate network ratings both nationally and abroad. This mode of observational 'docu-drama', or fly-on-the-wall camera has arguably transformed the viewing style of millions (, playing on presumably different aspects of audience engagement than its 'fictional' predecessors. Most notably, the scriptwriters and actors we've come to know and love are finally eschewed in the process; in which the dramatic displacement of reality masquerades as a kind of voyeuristic 'entertainment', of other peoples (edited) lives (Davies 2000, pp37). Apart from sparking fierce debate about the changing nature of documentary, ethics has resurfaced as an arena for intense discussion - partly because the ethics of this new form - at first glance - appear questionable indeed (Armstrong 2005, pp73).