In August, a debate at the Edinburgh Television festival discussed the treatment of charities by reality TV programmes, which was attended by Institute members.
Coincidentally, Ofcom, the body that regulates broadcasting on TV and radio and oversees telecoms companies, has recently been consulting on a proposed new code of practice for broadcasting. This proposed code includes a section on the issue of 'undue prominence', which means programmes must not give more attention than is editorially necessary to any product or service. Reality TV producers have used the concept of undue prominence to argue that it prevents them from informing viewers more fully about the charities viewers might support through the cost of a phone call.
The Institute has used this consultation as an opportunity to ask Ofcom to ensure that the relevant sections of the Code of Practice are revised to guarantee that, in future, television programmes cannot use undue prominence as a reason not to name or profile the charities that may be of benefit from the show.
The submission is available to read on the Institute's website. To read the proposed new code on broadcasting, go to www.ofcom.org.uk.
Transparency is an essential requirement in any fundraising activity, and it is time that TV producers started representing charities fairly.