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Written evidence: Reality TV Public Inquiry - Professor Sarita Malik and Dr Sara De Benedictis


This submission, coauthored by Professor Sarita Malik and Dr Sara De Benedictis, outlines the production ecology of Reality Television (RTV) and highlights the inequities that have emerged through the recruitment of ‘ordinary’ people as RTV participants.

This submission makes the following recommendations:

  • A robust ethical code of conduct should be established to minimise the risk of harm to RTV participants, as would be the case in standard research involving human subjects. This ethical code of conduct should encompass the various stages before, during and after the production of RTV programmes. 
  • RTV participants should be recognised as cultural workers and therefore be entitled to employment rights. 
  • The role of Ofcom in the regulation of RTV should be reassessed and reconfigured.
  • A range of measures for the production of RTV content should be created as part of the ethical code of conduct to be regulated by Ofcom.
  • A broader socio-economic understanding of the relationship between the RTV industry and mental health is required.
  • Cultural production research on RTV and its ancillary industries need to be urgently prioritised by UK Research Councils and other research funders, with the aim of evaluating current practices and monitoring the implementation of this Inquiry’s recommendations.

Read the full submission here