Ofcom boss warns he’ll take channels off-air if participants are put at risk

Ofcom boss warns he’ll take channels off-air if participants are put at risk


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Ofcom’s Director of Broadcasting Standards, Adam Baxter, has spoken out about new regulations that have been put in place. The broadcasting regulator is enforcing new rules to protect the well-being of participants in reality TV shows. In a recent interview, Adam revealed that the new regulations could in some extreme cases see channels taken off-air.

Adam has highlighted shows like Love Island and detailed how the broadcasting regulator aimed to protect participants on the show.

Speaking about the new regulations, Adam explained: “Broadcasters now have to take due care of people they feature who might be at risk of significant harm; primarily vulnerable people and those not used to being in the public eye.

He explained he was referring to programmes like Love Island that attract a high level of media and social media interest.

The Ofcom boss also noted shows like the popular ITV dating show can involve conflict, emotionally challenging situations, or require a person to disclose life-changing or private aspects of their lives.

Adam continued: “We’ve also made clear that, before a person agrees to take part in a TV or radio show, broadcasters must properly tell them about any possible risks to their welfare, and how they’ll seek to minimise these.

“It should also be made clear to viewers watching at home how the programme is taking care of the people they feature.

“We have the power in the most serious of cases to fine broadcasters or take away their licence to broadcast,” he explained.

However, he made it clear Ofcom would only use these powers in the most exceptional of cases.

He noted Ofcom won’t be dictating what formats, issues or stories broadcasters can and can’t explore.

“We will enforce these new protections but we will also try to balance broadcasters’ and audiences’ rights to freedom of expression,” Adam told Radio Times.

He detailed the broadcasting regulator has received high volumes of complaints about reality TV shows in the past.

Adam made it clear Ofcom wanted to assure viewers that each and every complaint is carefully looked at.

The current series of Love Island has already received complaints from viewers over the treatment of contestant Hugo Hammond.

In a recent episode of the reality show, contestants took part in the Line of Booty challenge, but the game caused upset amongst viewers.

In the challenge, the girls picked the boy they wanted to take part before giving them a kiss and sending them to jail.

While some of the lads were picked twice, PE teacher Hugo was left on the sidelines after no one chose him.

When he joined the boys at the end of the challenge, he said he felt “humiliated” and later added “It was sad to see someone left out. It was brutal”.

After watching the challenge, viewers quickly took to Twitter to share their outrage.


“Legit feel like writing a letter of complaint to Love Island and OFCOM about poor Hugo #LoveIsland,” another viewer added.

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