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

Ofcom has already rules in place 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.

Ofcom is now proposing to add two new rules to their ‘Broadcasting Code’ to protect the welfare and wellbeing of people taking part in programmes on TV and radio. These would include reality shows, documentaries, news and current affairs, phone-ins, quiz shows, talent contests and other forms of factual and entertainment programmes, but not drama, sitcoms or soaps.

The proposed rules are:
► Due care must be taken over the welfare, wellbeing and dignity of participants in programmes.

► Participants must not be caused unjustified distress or anxiety by taking part in programmes or by the broadcast of those programmes.

Ofcom say these rules reflect the fact that very different forms and levels of care may be appropriate, depending on the person participating, a programme’s format and the nature of the participation.

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