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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 12 November, 2002, 12:14 GMT
Minorities 'let down by TV'
Goodness Gracious Me
Goodness Gracious Me: "Going in the right direction"
Television shows are failing to give a realistic picture of ethnic minorities in the UK, viewers and broadcasters have said.

Some use negative stereotypes while others over-simplify issues or ignore them, a survey has suggested.

Ali G
Ali G: Also praised by the report
But shows like Coronation Street and comedies Ali G and Goodness Gracious Me are "moving in the right direction", the report said.

Viewers and professionals working in the TV and radio industries were canvassed. The survey was commissioned by the BBC and broadcasting watchdogs.

"Although significant progress has been made in the last five years, there still needs to be better representation of minorities both on screen and behind the scenes in decision-making roles," the report said.

Among complaints that were made were that TV portrayed arranged marriages in an inaccurate and out-dated way.

Minority viewers said their countries of origin were either not seen at all or featured in a negative light. They also said they would like to see more coverage of those countries.

Babyfather
BBC drama Babyfather was at the centre of a race row
Young white viewers said more effort should be made to present a fairer picture, but older white people were less concerned, the report said.

In the TV industry itself, 69% of workers said the perspectives of minorities were not featured enough. In the radio sector, that figure was 45%.

Just 22% of TV professionals said the number of ethnic minority decision-makers had increased in the last five years, compared with 32% in radio.

"The report shows where things are now and what can be done in developing future policies," according to Paul Bolt, director of the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC).

The BSC published the report with the BBC, the Independent Television Commission (ITC) and the Radio Authority.

It comes in the wake of a row between the BBC and author Patrick Augustus, who accused the corporation of adding "racist stereotypes" to drama Babyfather, which was based on his novel.

See also:

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