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Transparency In The Media. An Essay About The Ethical Issues Of The Big Brother Show.

3020 words - 12 pages

Generalities and rules"Big Brother" - five women and five men are living in one house without anycontact to the outside world, to friends and relatives. 120 technicians andproducers, 28 cameras and 59 micros deal with and watch them around the clock.Highlights of the happenings can be seen at TV every night. The candidatesare periodically assessed. Who conquers the hearts of the viewers, who isrejected? The rule is: the group names two people, one of them has to leave aweek later accordingly to the viewer's choice. After 100 days the last person inthe house will win 250,000 DM. Mobbing is required.The Americans made the rules much more difficult in the third series of BB. Eachweek, one person wins Head of House (or HOH). The HOH nominates two houseguests, each week, to leave the house. Then, a few days later, there is a VetoChallenge. The winner of the Veto challenge can veto one of the HOH'snominations. If this happens, the HOH will nominate a third house guest for eviction.Finally, the two remaining nominated house guests are put to a vote by the otherhouse members. The house guest receiving the most votes leaves the house. Thelast two remaining in the house are subjected to a final vote by the evictedhouse guests, and the winner takes home $500,000.The Dutch version of the programme produced high audience ratings. TheNetherlands were in a "Big Brother"-fever. The candidates became media stars. Wellover 20,000 interested people applied for the German version. Eventually 10passed the medical psychological tests. The composition should have been morecontrary, the demands should have been stronger than in the Dutch model. Butit's always possible: Every candidate can leave the container flat at anytime. But than there is no way back.The name and the ideaThe name "Big Brother" instantly brings to mind thenightmare created by George Orwell in his book, "1984". Big Brother is theall-seeing, all-knowing force behind the ruling Party which has everyone underconstant televisual surveillance. There are posters everywhere that read, "BIGBROTHER IS WATCHING YOU". The Party slogan is, "Who controls the pastcontrols the future; who controls the present controls the past". It is notdifficult to find parallels with the television producers who ultimately have controlof how the personalities are portrayed on Big Brother. One of the evictedcontestants, Sada Walkington, was not happy with their editing: "I found themvery cutting, highly destructive to my personality and I felt very betrayed."Big Brother is also a development of the ideas playedout in the film The Truman Show (1998), written by Andrew Niccol. It is thestory of a man who finds out that he is the star of the television show of hislife. Everything he knows is not real - his family and friends are merelyactors and his town is the largest sound stage in the world. His entire life istransmitted live to the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week. TrumanBurbank is a man living in ignorance of his...

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