Ofcom statement on care of programme participants

15 May 2019

It’s vital that people taking part in reality and factual shows are properly looked after. We’re examining whether more can be done to safeguard the welfare of those people, similar to the duty of care we have in the Broadcasting Code to protect under-18s.

Any changes must be helpful and effective, so we’ll speak to programme participants, broadcasters, producers and psychologists before finalising any new guidance.

Points to note

  • We already have rules placing responsibilities on broadcasters around the welfare of people participating in programmes. We also have specific guidelines on how these rules should be applied in relation to minors – before, during and after production. These are based on engagement with broadcasters, production companies as well as health professionals and other experts. (See rules 1.28, 2.3 and 7.3 of the Broadcasting Code).
  • We have been looking carefully at extending rules in this area (Ofcom’s Content Board, our advisory committee on editorial issues, discussed this at its meeting on 2 April). We’ll work with programme participants, broadcasters, producers and expert psychologists to understand their views before deciding what action to take. We expect to consult on any changes by the summer.