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New report calls for independent racism body in broadcasting

A report published by broadcasting union Bectu today (15 December 2020) is calling on broadcasters, industry stakeholders and entertainment unions to form a new independent reporting body to tackle racism in the broadcasting industry.

Race to be Heard: Racism Reporting Body for UK Broadcasting Sector was commissioned by Bectu, and written and researched by the respected producer and academic Marcus Ryder MBE. It follows the powerful MacTaggart lecture given by David Olusoga at the Edinburgh TV Festival and reports of racism in the industry that were published by the media during the summer.

Marcus Ryder MBE carried out extensive research and interviewed key stakeholders, representing a range of organisations and expertise from across the industry. Every broadcaster and industry body spoken to acknowledged that no one has a clear understanding of the level of racism in the industry, with most believing that it is under-reported.

The four main recommendations are as follows:

  1. Establish an industry-wide body which can both gather reports of racism from all the major industry bodies as well as be a body that people in the industry can go to, to report incidents of racism, including anonymous reporting.
  2. The body should be able to initiate investigations into issues of systemic racism that would be unlikely to be raised by individual complainants.
  3. The body should be able to offer advice and assistance to people who believe they are the victims of racism, and/or feel they have experienced unequal treatment due to their race, on how to process a complaint and the resources available to them to pursue a complaint.
  4. The body should publish an annual report on the state of racism in the industry to measure progress, build on best practice and learn from mistakes. The annual report should be complete with policy suggestions for industry stakeholders on how to tackle racism.

WGGB General Secretary Ellie Peers said: “The Bectu report highlights that there remain serious issues with under-reporting of racism across the creative industry.

“We support its conclusions and look forward to working with our sister unions and broadcasters to establish a new body and effect meaningful change.

“Systemic racism must be investigated and people who have experienced racism must be given clearly signposted sources of support.”

Sumerah Srivastav, Co-Chair of WGGB’s Equality & Diversity Committee, said:

“What this report confirms is that the situation is dire and action must be taken, not sometime in the future by someone else, but today and by all within the industry.”

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