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Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
British TV 'ignores' developing world
political refugees in central Angola
Britons learn almost nothing about life in poor countries
Britons are ignorant about life in the developing world because UK television has replaced serious international documentaries with reality TV and travel shows, a report has found.

The study examined a year's worth of programmes from September 2000, and concluded that the international documentary is "virtually dead".


What was really shocking was that, even as the number of international programmes went up, the number dealing with the true realities of life in developing countries has continued to go down

Don Redding, 3WE
Only four programmes on the politics of developing countries were broadcast during the year - and three of these were on one channel (BBC Two).

BBC One, ITV1 and Channel 5 were found to have provided no programmes in this category, according to Third World and Environment Broadcasting Trust (3WE), which carried out the study.

Holiday shows, travel challenges and reality TV - which often place British people into artificial environments located in developing countries - gets more TV hours than the realities of life for the majority of the world's people, the study found.

The number of programmes examining the developing world's history, politics, environment, human rights, conflict and disaster has fallen to its lowest levels yet.

Unreal

"What was really shocking was that, even as the number of international programmes went up, the number dealing with the true realities of life in developing countries has continued to go down," report author Don Redding told BBC News Online.

"This has to be a real concern when we are living in such a global world."

Survivor
Reality shows like Survivor are set outside the UK
3WE is calling on the government to create a minimum requirement for programmes on international issues.

"Unless broadcasters are told there's a requirement, it's quite clear they won't do it," he said.

3WE is funded by major development charities including Oxfam, Christian Aid and Comic Relief.

See also:

07 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
18 Dec 01 | Africa
15 Oct 01 | Business
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