UK TV ‘must protect public participants’

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British TV will be explicitly required to protect the “welfare, wellbeing and dignity” of individuals who take part in their programmes, under proposals from Ofcom.

Ofcom, said it was proposing to add two rules to the existing broadcasting code to protect members of the public who take part in programmes, in an announcement timed to coincide with the final of Love Island.

In addition to requiring producers to take due care to protect the dignity of participants, broadcasters will also have to ensure members of the public are not “caused unjustified distress or anxiety by taking part in programmes or by the broadcast of those programmes”.

Although the proposals have been developed partly in response to the death of a participant on The Jeremy Kyle Show, the code will apply to almost all radio and television programmes other than dramas, sitcoms and soap operas.

The regulator said “attitudes in society to welfare and wellbeing” had changed and the broadcasting code needed updating to reflect new social standards.

Tony Close, Ofcom’s director of content standards, said: “People who take part in TV and radio shows must be properly looked after by broadcasters, and these rules would ensure that happens. These new safeguards must be effective. So we’re listening carefully to programme participants, broadcasters, producers and psychologists before we finalise them.”


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