Media, Diversity and What Can the Government Do?

Earlier this week, Sir Lenny Henry CBE, Actor and Producer, Simon Albury MBE, Chair, Campaign for Broadcasting Equality and Marcus Ryder, Chief International Editor of the China Global Television Network gave evidence to the Communications Committee surrounding diversity in the media.

It is an issue that I follow closely, having worked in radio and television. I also think everyone should watch it, as it touches on public service broadcasting. Public service broadcasting affects everyone. Here is the link I hope you enjoy the watch.

What struck me was the following – how other countries are managing diversity much more effectively than the UK, the need for tax breaks and a contestable fund.

I still find it quite shocking we are still having this conversation in the 21st Century. Especially, as Simon Albury alludes to, the output of Channel 4 when it was first set up. Public service to me, doesn’t mean serving all the public at all times. It’s about serving all the public over time. , 

Having people from diverse backgrounds can only make an organisation stronger. There are many stories that I can write about where I have noticed that the lack of BAMEs in meetings has led to direct misunderstandings or total ignorance of what the issues are. If a concept is misunderstood from script to screen, then it’s easy to understand why many BAMEs are deserting public service broadcasters for streaming services like Netflix or Amazon.

Journalism, television, radio are sectors that are all going through huge amounts of change at the moment. They are being disrupted by online, by digital services and no one knows yet where journalism, television or radio will be after the disruption. What can make it stronger is that these industries need to focus on its human capital, to take on and make sure they retain staff who have complementary skills and experience, not duplicate ones. Otherwise, I fear their influence and reach will continue to flounder.