Insights Ofcom publishes updated broadcaster guidance on protecting participants in TV and radio programmes


Ofcom has updated its guidance for broadcasters to help them comply with new requirements to protect people who take part in TV and radio shows. This follows Ofcom’s December 2020 statement in which it laid out amendments to its Broadcasting Code.

The new measures, which come into effect on 5 April 2021, introduce two new Practices to Follow to ensure broadcasters take due care over the welfare of people who might be at risk of significant harm as a result of taking part in a programme. The provisions are designed to protect vulnerable people and others not used to being in the public eye.

The updated guidance sets out how, in practice, Ofcom expects broadcasters to follow the new fairness provisions, set out in Section Seven of the Broadcasting Code. The guidance includes a suggested “risk matrix” to help broadcasters assess the level of care required for participants in different types of programmes. As Ofcom explained in its December 2020 statement, it has also made some minor changes to clarify its rules on offence and due care of under-eighteens in programmes. To access the updated guidance, click here.