There has been a dramatic decline in the coverage of third world issues on all television channels, according to a new survey. While 86 per cent of the British public say television is their main source of news and information, more and more television is taken up with light entertainment. What little coverage remains of the developing world is mostly focussed on wildlife and travel. In a letter to the Times, Julian Filochowski, director of CAFOD, has joined other aid and environmental agencies in calling on the government to ensure that the new White Paper on Communications retains strong public service regulations for television. The letter says: "Those pushing for de-regulation argue that television programmes are just another product and the market will ensure that consumers get what they want. But television continues to be the main way through which people can understand and make sense of the modern world - and as such carries a significant responsibility for the cultural and political welfare of our democracy. "Anyone interested in building solidarity with the world's poor must be concerned about the dramatic decline in the coverage of these issues. De-regulation and the ratings war mean that serious programmes will disappear even deeper into the schedules or onto niche channels that few people watch. It is a paradox that, at a time when globalisation is impinging more and more on our everyday life, television - our 'window on the world' is showing less and less of what lies beyond."
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