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Why has progress on diversity been so slow?
25
It laid out its plans for exchanging good practice, organising events and
promoting culturally diverse programmes through its website. I have checked the
website regularly over the past year and noted that it has been virtually inactive
throughout that time. As of August 26th 2005 the website was still featuring
programme highlights from August 2004, a list provided by BBC, Channel 4 and
ITV which is revealing in what they appear to consider to be culturally diverse
programming. 
Of the ten projects listed, the first was a drama series about the 9/11 suicide
bombers, another was a documentary series about the Anglo-US war on terror.
There was a Channel 4 sequel to the Torso in the Thames programme about the
suspected ritual killing of an African child. The digital channel BBC 4 was offering
a variety of programmes to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Notting Hill
Carnival, “a story of rows, violence and controversy”. BBC Radio 4 offered
playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah presenting a feature about “Black on Black” gun
crime. BBC2’s highlight was a documentary about the murder of a young
aboriginal man in Australia. BBC Drama offered a cop show with a Black actor
and ITV the first children’s series with an Asian lead actor.
So, is this the broadcasters’ actual vision of cultural diversity in Britain at the
beginning of the 21st Century? Terrorism, violence, conflict, carnival …and a little
sugar pill for the children?
It is not my intention to knock the Cultural Diversity Network, but if it is
genuinely the intention of broadcasters to make their visions of cultural diversity
a reality then we clearly need to develop a better shared understanding of what it
means.
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