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12/11/2002

ITC publish report calling for realistic portrayal of minorities

Broadcasters and audiences from minority ethnic communities are calling for authentic and realistic representation on television and radio, to ensure that they are seen as part of mainstream society and to encourage better understanding of their culture.
The appeal is reported in new research published today by the BBC, the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC), the ITC and the Radio Authority.
The research, undertaken between February and May 2002, examined attitudes towards multicultural broadcasting from two perspectives, that of the audience at large, including minority ethnic groups, and that of practitioners from within the television, radio and advertising industries. It found that there was agreement between both groups that, although significant progress has been made in the last five years, there still needs to be better representation of minorities both on screen and behind the scenes in decision-making roles.
Audiences said that mainstream broadcasters had a social duty to include authentic and fair representations of minorities.
Programmes such as 'Goodness Gracious Me', 'Ali G' and 'Coronation Street' were considered to be moving in the right direction. However, the participants also wanted to see more representation in news and documentaries.
There was concern amongst the audience groups about the stereotypical portrayal of certain issues. For example, groups from the Indian sub-continent talked of the way in which arranged marriages were presented on television. They felt that the treatment of the issue was neither accurate nor did it reflect the way in which the system had changed over time. They called for fairer portrayal of such issues.
Alongside this was the view among all participants from minority ethnic groups that their country of origin was not represented at all or was negatively portrayed.
There was also a sense that there was not enough coverage of events about their countries.
(GB)
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