It could easily be considered the largest of the genres, and it has many sub-genres that make up for a popular airtime filler. One of the most influential sub-genres in factual programming would be considered to be the News, which captures a large and varied target audience and holds all mealtime slots for each day.
As so, there are many issues regarding factual programmes for television, like accuracy, often audiences watch factual televison with a critical eye, judging the degree of factuality in each reality format, based on their experience of other types of factual programming, also audiences watch certain programs on a regular basis at least the most common ones, like documentaries and news and the way audiences react, for example to the documentary fakery is such that they become distrustful of the truth of what they were seeing in observational documentaries.
Which point to the fact that audiences value accuracy of imformation and truthfulness in news, current affairs and documentary more than in popular factual programmes. The balance between information and entertainment in popular factual television is also important, audiences consider reality shows to be entartainment rather than informative, when viewers discuss informative elements in traditional reality programmes, discussion centers on the deplyment of knowledge, such as pratical tips for viewers.
For example, programmes about consumer issues, or health are thought to be informative because viewers can relate to them, and store information, or ideas, for later use. These reality formats provide pratical and social learning opportunities within an entertainement frame. When viewers discuss informative elements in contemporary reality programmes, discussion centers on the idea of learning rather than learning itself. These reality formats do not provide clear pratical or social learning opportunities, and instead foreground entertainement, so is very important the balance between imformation and entertainment.
Another issue relating to factual programming is the impartility of it, a factual programme dealing with controversial public policy or matters of political, economic or social controversy like for example the news, needs to be impartial, if to the presenter of the news is given the chance to air their views, opinions and to criticize, this might not only be considered undesirable but even dangerous, so a proper presenter most show open-mindedness, fairness and a respect for the truth.
He must not allow his professional judgement to be influenced by pressures from political, commercial or other sectional interests or by his personal bias. Another issue regarding factual programmes is to ensure proper objectivity, nowhere is this distortion more apparent than in the debate about drugs and cannabis in particular.
On December 2007 BBC Radio 4 broadcast a series of two investigative factual reports titled The Cannabis Trade which recieved a complaint, but the complaint was not that the programme should have presented the case for legalisation, that was made utterly clear, simply that the reason for the growth in organised crime is well understood as being a result of the prohibition regime and that by not drawing attention to this essential fact the programme presented a distorted view of the true situation. It is thus easy to misrepresent the truth not by telling a lie, but by not telling all of the story.
The program presented their own biased viewpoints without any checks or balances or a duty to be truly objective, not ensuring objectivity it caused this problem. Also there is the problem with privacy in factual programmes, If a source does not want you to share something to do with them on a programme you have to respect and not put it up there. You need to respect their privacy and let them to be confident in the show. But there are other kind of programs such as Big brother that use surveillance camera to watch the daily live and explore their privacy, but this kind of programmes already have the consent of the people being exposed.