Jowell: Reality shows could be PSB
02 March 2004 09:53
Reality TV and soaps such as EastEnders could be classed as public service broadcasting, according to media secretary Tessa Jowell.
As the government and regulator Ofcom gear up to create a new framework for public service broadcasting Jowell said reality shows which shed light on human behaviour could well qualify for PSB status.
"I could certainly see that a reality-TV show that explored some particular aspect of human behaviour could be argued for as public-service broadcasting, with an interest that extends beyond profits and high ratings," she told the Independent, adding that she had watched "four episodes and many hours of ITV1ís I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here".
She also suggested that some storylines in soaps often had a strong public service value. "I would say that those episodes of EastEnders that tackle difficult issues of child abuse, drug taking, teenage pregnancy, and so forth, are actually - when they do it responsibly - providing an important public service."
Her comments will be well received by commercial broadcasters who are hoping for a more relaxed PSB framework under Ofcom. They have called for an end to the "box ticking", whereby each channel is prescribed a certain number of hours of religion, arts, and kids programming to satisfy PSB remits.
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