Updated broadcaster guidance on protecting participants in TV and radio programmes

Ofcom has updated its guidance for broadcasters to help them comply with new requirements to protect people who take part in TV and radio shows. This follows their December 2020 statement where the amendments to the Broadcasting Code were outlined.

The new measures, which come into effect on 5 April 2021, introduce two new Practices to Follow to ensure broadcasters take due care over the welfare of people who might be at risk of significant harm as a result of taking part in a programme. The provisions are designed to protect vulnerable people and others not used to being in the public eye.

The new guidance sets out how, in practice, Ofcom expects broadcasters to follow the new fairness provisions - set out in Section Seven of the Broadcasting Code. The guidance includes a suggested ‘risk matrix’ to help broadcasters assess the level of care required for participants in different types of programmes.

As explained in the December 2020 statement, Ofcom has also made some minor changes to clarify the rules on offence and due care of under-eighteens in programmes.