Equality authority to address decline in TV diversity

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TV DIVERSITY TO BE ADDRESSED: US show Empire, which features a predominantly black cast, has been a hit with diverse audiences

THE NUMBER of black, Asian and minority ethnic people working in the TV industry has fallen by 2000 in the last three years alone, research shows.

To combat the decline, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have launched a new project to boost diversity on our screens.

The government has backed the EHRC with £130,000 to draw up a document that will inform commissioners and programme-makers about “where they can and cannot discriminate” in the quest for a more diverse workforce.

The equality authority has started to work on the guidance, which will be presented for the first time at a session at this year’s Edinburgh International Television Festival. Alongside the report, the EHRC will develop a “toolkit” with watchdog Ofcom, which will provide examples of practical steps to increase diversity.

The BBC and Channel 4 have now set diversity targets for broadcasting employees while ITV and Channel 5 have not.

Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries said: “The EHRC guidance will be a very welcome and timely way to support broadcasters as they take forward plans to improve diversity on television. I want to see progress here, not just in on screen diversity but also in recruitment to jobs behind the camera and in senior and professional roles in the industry.”

The research on the present state of the television industry identified that the number of BAME workers fell by 30.9 per cent between 2006 and 2012 and represented only 5.4 per cent of the total broadcasting workforce, while the community accounts for 14 per cent of the British population.

The lack of representation is further aggravated when compared to the composition of diverse cities like London where the BAME population of working age make up 38 per cent of the total population.
As a result, the BBC has pledged to increase on screen diversity by 15 per cent by 2017.

Channel 4 has set themselves a target of 20 per cent both on and off screen by 2020.

The project, which is supported and funded by Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), will see the Commission working with Ofcom, the Creative Diversity Network, broadcasters, independent production companies, trade unions and bodies representing those working in the television sector.

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  2. If you’re not watching Empire, you are missing one of the best things on TV right now… Some of your favorite stars including Naomi Campbell and Snoop Dogg …..Drama, Music, Fashion and issues….so much for everyone.