Ofcom lashes out at ‘woeful’ UK broadcasters over diversity failings

Ofcom savages broadcaster diversity record

Ofcom has savaged Britain’s broadcasters for their singular failure to adequately represent women, the disabled and minority ethnic groups on the small screen.

The telecoms regulator pulled no punches in its full-frontal assault with the BBC coming in for particular stick for having failed to lead by example on diversity to its competitors – ITV, Channel 4, Sky and Channel 5 owner Viacom.

In consequence Ofcom warns that a growing ‘cultural disconnect’ is becoming embedded in society with older viewers as well as those of black, Asian or other heritage feeling that they aren’t getting their fair share of airtime – and when they do so it is often to be portrayed in a negative manner.

Chief executive Sharon White remarked: “The information we have is shocking. There is some woeful progress, especially for senior women, disabled people, and people from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background.”

Backing up her claims with numbers White notes that while 51% of the UK’s general population are female just 39% of senior roles at the broadcasters are held by their compatriots – although this rises to 48% for their workforces as a whole.

Under representation was also found in terms of employees from an ethnic minority, a group which constitutes 14% of the general populace but just 12% of workers and disabled people who make up 3% of workers but 18% of the population at large.

The BBC drew particular criticism for failing to lead other broadcasters by examples after lagging behind on virtually all key metrics.

For its part Verizon has pledged to offer 20 diverse young marketers in full time jobs through its fellowship programme.

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John Glenday

John Glenday is responsible for compiling The Drum's daily morning bulletin and ensuring that overnight breaking news is covered while you're still brushing your teeth. Can also make a mean cup of tea.

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