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Media Diversity

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State 7:30 pm, 11th February 2020

I love him dearly, but I can confirm that he did not vote for the Conservative party at the general election. But that is a matter for his own conscience—and at some point his own bank balance, no doubt.

Unfortunately, the experience of the hon. Lady is not the first of its kind and is unlikely to be the last. There have been a number of other high-profile examples, including recently when the basketball player Kobe Bryant was mistaken for LeBron James during a BBC news report, and the musician Stormzy has previously been mistaken for the former Manchester United player Romelu Lukaku. In addition to the other negative experiences that she has raised, these examples all point to a wider issue directly linked to, as she rightly points out, a lack of diversity in our media.

The media play a vital role in British society and therefore have an important responsibility to reflect the reality of modern Britain. This can only be possible with a representative and diverse workforce. It is the Government’s view that everyone, regardless of their background, should have the same opportunity to be successful and to go as far as their talents and hard work take them, including in the media and the wider creative industries. This Government are committed to working together with the industry to achieve this and to support greater diversity.

As one of our most cherished institutions, the BBC has an important role to play in the diversity debate, and we expect it to lead the way. In 2016, the Government embedded diversity in the BBC’s new public purposes to make sure that it delivers for everyone in the UK. That gave the BBC a general duty to make sure that it considered diversity in the programmes and shows it makes and in the way that it is organised and run. This Government’s position is clear: the BBC should be leading the way in both on-screen and off-screen diversity in equal measure.