NEWS4 November 2021

Minority ethnic viewers value tailored programming

Inclusion Media News Trends UK

UK – Television and radio services aimed at people from minority ethnic backgrounds are highly valued by those communities, research published by Ofcom has found.

Man watching TV

However, the report, Broadcast expectations of minority ethnic audiences, also set out concerns from minority ethnic about aggressive, prejudicial or intolerant behaviour within current affairs discussion programmes.

The research suggested that viewers were concerned that such content could create tensions between communities and stifle open debate.

The report was based on qualitative research carried out by research agency Ethnic Dimension between 23rd November 2020 and 25 February 2021 with 160 people from Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Black African and Arabic-speaking backgrounds on their experiences of programmes that target their cultural or religious communities.

Respondents said that minority ethnic television and radio services provided a sense of belonging and a connection to their cultural roots, linguistic heritage and faith, as well as opportunities for inter-generational family viewing.

The report highlighted general concerns about depictions of violence and domestic abuse in soaps or dramas, as well as violent or graphic news coverage, and depictions of sexualised content.

People therefore felt it was important for broadcasters to protect audiences from harm and offence, such as appropriate scheduling to protect children, providing clear and relevant warnings, or signposting to support networks or organisations, according to the research.

Ofcom said it would use the report to raise the regulator’s profile among minority ethnic communities to encourage issues to be reported, and has created a short animation in English, Welsh, Urdu and Punjabi about the work of its broadcast standards team.