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BBC Criticized for not Doing Enough to Promote Diversity

The former culture minister, David Lammy has accused the BBC of not doing enough to promote diversity, and has called for specific targets to be integrated into the next royal charter.

Lammy, a Labour MP, has demanded that the BBC work towards more representation of ethnic minorities both on and off the screen in line with the growing diversity of the UK workplace.

In a speech to the House of Commons, Lammy said, “I am growing tired of strategies, of new approaches, of action plans, of initiatives and press releases.

“The net result of all of these strategies and initiatives is sadly very little. Despite the good intentions, rhetoric has not been matched by real progress.”

Lammy argued that the BBC’s image could be tarnished if not enough ethnic minorities are represented. The BBC’s attempt to be a global enterprise could be under threat if, as a microcosm of society, the true diversity of the said society is not reflected.

Trevor Phillips, the former Equality and Human Rights Commission chair, criticised the BBC in March for its failure to woo minority audiences and accused BBC2 of being “Britain’s whitest TV station”.

According to the Guardian ‘The total proportion of the BBC’s workforce that was BAME in 2015 was 13.1%, up from 12.2% four years ago, according to statistics published by Lammy. This is up 0.9% in four years and just 2.2% since 2003.

This percentage is below the BBC’s own targets of 14.2% of its workforce being from diverse backgrounds by 2017. In the UK 12.9% of residents identified themselves as non-white in the 2011 census, although this proportion is higher in London, where most BBC employees work.’

Although on screen representation has improved in recent years, Lammy remained unimpressed, saying that, “This isn’t just about on-screen representation. What really matters when it comes to systemic change is who the decision-makers are…”

Of 8 directors on the BBC board, 6 are white men and two are women. None are from minority backgrounds.

BBC spokeswoman has previously pledged to do more and said: “We want an open and diverse BBC, which is why we have implemented ambitious plans and targets to improve on and off-air representation of BAME and disabled people.”

It is hoped that a ‘dedicated catalyst fund’ will be set up to promote BAME productions and to help ethnic minorities to enter the BBC more easily in the future.

 

Written By:

Daniel James
www.danieljamesbio.com
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