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Sunday, March 26, 2017
Survey shows TV is ignoring developing world
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¬†Factual television coverage of Third World issues has dropped to its lowest level ever, according to new research published yesterday by 3WE - a coalition of the UK's leading international development, environment and human rights charities, that includes CAFOD and Christian Aid. The report 'The World on the Box' is the seventh in a series of monitoring reports. Its main conclusions are: ∑ Factual programming about the developing world has halved since the 3WE survey began in 1989/90. ∑ Only 24 factual programmes in the year dealt with issues of politics, development, environment and human rights in developing countries - a further fall of one quarter since 2000-01. ∑ The amount of general factual international programming on the four largest terrestrial channels was 40% lower in 2003 than in 1989/90. ∑ Conversely, the main evening news bulletins on all the channels have kept up a high proportion of international stories. ∑ The Iraq war's domination of international news in 2003 led to some of the highest ever figures for developing country news. Other regions of the developing world, and other key story subjects, had very limited news coverage. 3WE argues that the results of the study show that both broadcasters and regulators are failing to fulfil their public service obligations. Don Redding, 3WE co-ordinator, said: "Ofcom is making a mockery of the mandate given to it by parliament. When the Communications Act was passed in 2003, extensive public and parliamentary support helped amend it to include a requirement for adequate programming on 'matters of international significance or interest;. "Despite this, Ofcom, as shown in its recent review of public service television broadcasting, seems unwilling to take any action to stop the blatant violations of broadcasters' public service obligations. The lowest-ever level of factual programming from the developing world has therefore been met with a deafening silence from the new regulator. "Worse still, Ofcom's new policy proposals - to free ITV1 and Five from most of their public service obligations and to carve up the BBC license fee - seems designed to sabotage public service broadcasting once and for all. It is time for parliament and the government urgently to look again at the regulator's operations."
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