MP praises rules to protect public on TV

Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, praises Ofcom for proposing new rules to protect the ‘wellbeing’ of contestants on reality TV programmes.  

The deaths of two Love Island contestants and one Jeremy Kyle Show participant, has prompted Ofcom (the UK’s broadcasting regulator) to propose new rules that could make television broadcasters responsible for the ‘wellbeing and dignity’ of TV participants, including reality show contestants.

Ofcom, attributed its two new rules being put forward to “growing openness and concern in society about mental health and well-being in recent years”.

The two new rules proposed by Ofcom 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’s new proposals also include, advising that participants minimise or limit social media usage after a programme has gone out on-air.  ITV has said it will offer therapy and social media training to participants of Love Island in the future.

Commenting, Caroline Dinenage said:

“Broadcasters should be taking the mental health and wellbeing of its participants very seriously. Failure to address issues with reality TV, in the past, has had devastating effects. The introduction of Ofcom’s new proposed rules would strengthen safe guarding measures for participants.”

The Director of Content Standards for Ofcom, Tony Close, stated:

"People who take part in TV and radio shows must be properly looked after by broadcasters, and these rules would ensure that happens. These new safeguards must be effective. So we're listening carefully to programme participants, broadcasters, producers and psychologists before we finalise them."

Ofcom said it would invite feedback from broadcasters about the proposed changes until 23 September.