Tom Watson calls for Ofcom to become more diverse
Tom Watson has called for TV watchdog Ofcom to “practice what it preaches” and become more diverse.
The Labour deputy leader and shadow media minister has said a regulator with greater diversity will better understand issues of representation.
Mr Watson said Labour would look into these issues, and would consider urging Ofcom to set up a diversity panel.
The politician spoke to Sir Lenny Henry in Broadcast magazine regarding issues in the television industry.
Ofcom has said it would look into its advisory committees, which have been criticised by Sir Lenny.
The comedian claimed in Broadcast, which he guest edited, that of 32 members on Ofcom advisory boards, only one was from a BAMe background.
Mr Watson said in response: “The regulator for any industry has an obligation to expect greater diversity and therefore should practice what it preaches.
“It is more likely to understand how to deal with these issues if it has greater diversity, and we would look into that.”
Asked if he would instruct Ofcom to set up a panel dedicated to diversity, he said: “This is certainly something we’d look at. It’s a potential remedy.”
In a conversation with Mr Watson published in Broadcast, Sir Lenny said he wanted to see change “before I die” and said “nothing changes without policy”.
Ofcom has responded to the calls for greater diversity, and accepted more can be done.
A spokeswoman for the watchdog said: “Diversity and inclusion are major focuses for Ofcom, and our organisation increasingly reflects that.
“For example, a third of our senior management team, who implement the decisions we take, are from ethnic-minority backgrounds.
“But we recognise that our advisory committees – like the whole industry – need to become more diverse, and we’ll soon announce new appointments that will help achieve that.
“We’ll continue to work to improve the diversity profile of our advisory committees.”