Bectu publishes results of industry survey on racism, Pen Ofcom Letter

British occupation union Bectu has released the results of its latest poll showing racism is still rife in the broadcast industry.

The survey, conducted in partnership with the Sir Lenny Henry Center for Media Diversity, also found that reporting mechanisms were “largely ineffective”.

Findings from the survey included that 61% of global majority respondents had experienced racism in the workplace and 59% had witnessed it. (The term “global majority,” Bectu explains, means “people who are Black, Asian, Brown, dual heritage, native to the Global South, or racialized as ‘minority ethnic groups.’ By using this collective term, we recognize them assume that these ethnic groups are often defined as a “minority” in the UK, but that they form the majority worldwide.”)

In a statement, Bectu also said that “little progress has been made” in establishing an independent racism hotline in the broadcasting industry.

The union also wrote an open letter to broadcasting regulator Ofcom, calling on the organization to “publicly support our campaign and join us in pressuring UK broadcasters to work with unions and set up an independent reporting body”.

It was signed by industry leaders including Marcus Ryder, Chair of the Campaign for Broadcasting Equality, Simon Albury, and Jake Wiafe of YouTube documentary channel Real Stories.

You can read and sign the full letter here.

“Our findings confirm that the broadcast sector’s reporting and handling of racism remains inadequate and it is clear that reform is urgently needed,” Philippa Childs, head of Bectu, said in a statement. “In particular, our survey shows that more work is needed to educate people about subtle forms of racism, including micro-aggression, which remain pervasive in this sector.”

“This latest survey shows that little has changed since we last called for an independent racism reporting body and underscores the urgent need for one. Everyone, including unions, must do a better job of eradicating racism in the industry and this can only be achieved through cooperation and partnership between UK broadcasters and entertainment unions.”

“It is now up to industry leaders to listen to our demands and formulate a racism hotline. It is not too late to take action against racism on the airwaves and we will keep up the pressure until we see real progress.”

Marcus Ryder, Head of External Consultancies at the Lenny Henry Center for Media Diversity, added: “All the evidence points to a serious underreporting of racism on British radio. If we are to maintain and grow a world-class motion picture television industry, we must create an environment where everyone can thrive. An independent racism reporting office would be an important step towards achieving this.” Bectu publishes results of industry survey on racism, Pen Ofcom Letter

Charles Jones

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