The BBC’s failure to reflect all sections of society as it is required by its Charter, means that clear diversity targets should for the first time be part of the Charter, the Equality and Human Rights Commission will say today.
The comments are part of a briefing to all Parliamentarians ahead of a debate on diversity in the BBC in the House of Commons today. At the event organised by David Lammy MP, the Commission will say that the current commitment in the Charter to represent the UK, its regions and communities is ‘woolly and vague’. And the BBC has largely ended up filling roles with people who look and sound like those who selected them.
EHRC Commissioner Lord Holmes, said: “While the BBC’s top brass have consistently talked about the need to make the BBC more diverse, the reality is that in practice, progress on the shop floor and on our screens has been painfully slow. In our view, diversity targets should now be hardwired into the BBC’s constitution to focus every level at the BBC on delivering meaningful, sustainable change. That means the decision makers behind who is seen on screen just as much as those who appear in front of the camera.
“To their credit, the main broadcasters including the BBC have recently set out ambitious diversity action plans and targets. But all media organisations need to work harder and drive further progress.
“It is only by unlocking creative talent and finding the voices and stories across all communities that Britain will retain its position as a global leader in broadcasting. It’s not just about fairness but how we make the best programmes that help our industry to thrive.
“The Commission published guidance last year and is working with all main broadcasters to increase understanding of how the law can help them take innovative actions to increase diversity.”