Reality TV contestants must be protected from social media trolls, says Ofcom

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Participants in television and radio programmes will be warned to avoid social media afterwards, under new rules being tested by the broadcasting watchdog.

After controversies involving The Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island, Ofcom is bringing in a number of safeguards.

Broadcasters will be required to take due care over the “welfare, well-being and dignity of participants in programmes”, and participants “must not be caused unjustified distress or anxiety” by taking part.

As part of the guidance issued, Ofcom said programme-makers should be “advising potential participants on steps to minimise or limit social media contact post-transmission”, acknowledging that negative comments on Twitter and other platforms can be harmful to mental health.

An Ofcom spokesman said: “People who take part in TV or radio programmes may find themselves the subject of intense social media debate, or even trolling. So it’s important that participants are given the right advice before a show is broadcast, to help them prepare for potential contact on social media.”

The watchdog said complaints received in recent years reflect a greater public awareness about the welfare of people on television.

Lsat year, there were 7,918 complaints about the ITV programme Loose Women, mostly expressing concern that the presenters had humiliated a guest, How Clean Is Your House? presenter Kim Woodburn.



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