This article analyses the role that Reality TV can play in the lives of young participants, when a programme is designed as a strategic intervention to achieve change. With roots in Communication for Development notions, this study brings together different theoretical fields to illustrate how media can be created with the intent of enhancing young people’s awareness of the important role they can play in society through targeted activities that occur during media production. The experience of the young contestants from The President TV show, broadcast in the Palestinian Territories in 2013 and 2015, is examined. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with some of the finalists of the show; information gathered has been analysed in the light of a framework that brings together media participation and civic engagement. Findings show how the format and structure of the programme has enhanced participants’ understanding of the social, political, and economic spheres of a conflict-affected reality, contributing to their engagement with peace-oriented civic practices long after the end of the show.
KEYWORDS: Communication for development; development communication; Reality TV; edutainment; civic engagement; peace; TV; Palestine; participation; young people