November 8, 2021
Ofcom commissioned Ethnic Dimension to conduct research to help it understand the experiences and expectations of audiences watching or listening to channels and stations aimed at ethnic minority communities.
The researchers spoke to more than 160 people from Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Black African and Arabic-speaking backgrounds to better understand how they think and feel about programmes that directly target their cultural or religious communities, and how their expectations differ from other mainstream channels and stations. Focusing primarily on the rules around harm, offence, hatred and abuse, the researchers also asked participants what they expect from broadcasters, Ofcom and content regulation.
People spoke of how minority ethnic TV and radio services provide a sense of belonging, help connect them with their cultural roots, faith and linguistic heritage, and provide an opportunity for shared inter-generational family viewing. However, people also expressed unease around certain content, including:
- violent or graphic news coverage, which viewers observed was often looped throughout the day without warnings;
- aggressive, prejudicial or intolerant behaviour within current affairs discussion programmes, prompting concerns that such content could create tensions between communities and stifle open debate;
- depictions of violence and domestic abuse in soaps or dramas; and
- depictions of sexualised content.
Given these concerns, people felt it was important for broadcasters to take steps 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. To access the research report, click here.