Who is going to ensure it gets better?
TV and radio critics
A positive review can give programme-makers the power to get a better slot or
budget for their next programme, or simply to get their next commission.
Commissioning editors reputations are also secured on the reviews their
commissions receive. So, identifying high CQ programmes and questioning those
that are superficial or stereotypical in their portrayals of minorities, or are lazy in
their casting, is a vital part of the role of the critic. Many interviewees identified
particular critics who seemed particularly alert to these issues but also suggested
that there should be more diversity in the people who are selected for those
Like the stamp of approval of critics, winning an award for a programme affects
how much power that programme-maker has for the next twelve months. There
is nothing at the moment which rewards high CQ programmes, programmes
which successfully transcend cultural boundaries, make connections and bring
insights from different perspectives. Perhaps that is something the Cultural
Diversity Network could institute?
Forums for media debate
Several interviewees commented on the failure of media journalists to pursue the
broadcasters on their lack of progress over the past twenty years. Publications
such as Broadcast and Guardian Media, and events such as the Edinburgh
Television Festival and the Radio Festival could all take a more critical and
sustained approach to investigating and reporting on the broadcasters actual
And how could audiences be engaged to demand more inclusive public service
broadcasting? Several producers recalled that in the 1980s there was much more
pressure on broadcasters from different minority groups, but that pressure seems
to have receded now, even though the dissatisfaction over inadequate
representation still exists. Is this because those audiences have become
disillusioned and dont think their protests will make any difference? What can be
done to ensure they do not give up on believing it is their public service too?
Online forums such as britishbornchinese, Asians in Media and Ouch! offer an
opportunity to develop informed debate around specific programmes and reach
out to wider networks of people. Rather than regarding each other as
competition, organisations representing different minorities could be more
effective if they worked together to raise awareness among the general public
and apply joint pressure to challenge the industry monoculture.