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Race to be Heard: broadcasting industry yet to answer Bectu’s calls

23 March 2022

Last year, Bectu published the ‘Race to be Heard’ report, written and researched by producer and academic Marcus Ryder. The report called on entertainment unions, industry stakeholders and broadcasters to establish an independent racism reporting body in the broadcasting industry.  

One year on, our call remains unanswered. Despite this, we refuse to give up our efforts and once again invite broadcasters and industry stakeholders to work with entertainment unions, to formulate an independent reporting body. We truly believe that the formation of such a body will help support and sustain diversity within the broadcasting industry, and lead to a healthier and more productive environment.  

The Race to be Heard report was based on interviews carried out by Marcus Ryder between stakeholders and organisations in the industry. Such extensive researched demonstrated the lack of understanding of the extent of racism, and how freelancers and employees could report it.  

The report makes four key recommendations, which we will be upholding in our campaign relaunch. These include:  

  • Establishment of an industry wide racism reporting body  
  • The body should be able to initiate investigations into systematic racism 
  • The body should offer advice and assistance to those who have experienced unequal treatment due to their race, on the resources available to them to pursue a complaint 
  • The body should publish an annual report on racism in the industry to measure progress and overcome obstacles 

Bectu remains committed to these recommendations and will be keeping them at the forefront of our campaign efforts.  

Additionally, Bectu have partnered with the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity to create a survey, aimed at creatives in film, TV and theatre, the results of which we believe will demonstrate the necessity of a race reporting body. We have contacted the Shadow Equalities team to request a meeting to discuss the report, and the ways in which we can tackle the wider issue or racism in the broadcasting industry.  

At Bectu, we are committed to ensuring that there are official complaint procedures in place across the creative industries, evidenced by our Commercials Diversity Action Plan, which addressed under-representation of ethnic minority workers amongst crew. The plan established an official procedure for dealing with complaints of racism and other abuse on commercials productions. Over 100 production companies signed up to the plan, demonstrating how collective action across the industry can result in real change.  

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs says:

“After a year of silence, Bectu once again invite broadcasters and industry leaders to answer our calls and establish such a necessary body that we truly believe will support and sustain diversity in the sector. I am proud of such an important piece of research, and it is now the job of industry leaders to listen to our demands and formulate a race reporting body. It is not too late to tackle the pernicious impact of racism in the broadcasting sector and we will maintain pressure until we see real progress.” 

Marcus Ryder – Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity says:

“All the evidence suggests that there is serious underreporting of racism in British broadcasting. If we want to maintain and grow a world class film television industry, we must create an environment in which everyone can thrive. An independent racism reporting body would be an important step in achieving that.” 

Help make a difference in Film & TV Take part in the Race to be Heard Survey