Ofcom proposes new rules to protect people in TV and radio shows

Ofcom is proposing new rules to ensure that people who take part in television and radio shows are properly looked after by broadcasters.

Ofcom says that it already has rules placing responsibilities on broadcasters around participants in programmes, and specific safeguards for people under 18, but there has been growing openness and concern in society about mental health and wellbeing in recent years.

Ofcom has also seen a steady rise in complaints expressing concern about the welfare and wellbeing of people who take part in programmes. Against this backdrop, Ofcom has been reviewing its existing protections for programme participants.

Accordingly, Ofcom is proposing to add two new rules to its Broadcasting Code:

  • due care must be taken over the welfare, wellbeing and dignity of participants in programmes; and
  • participants must not be caused unjustified distress or anxiety by taking part in programmes or by the broadcast of those programmes.

Ofcom says that it is planning to issue guidance to help broadcasters interpret and apply the new rules, and its also consulting on the principles it should contain.

Ofcom is inviting feedback on the new rules and guidance by 23 September 2019. To access the consultation, click here.