Home Coronavirus Major broadcasters among backers of new UK TV freelancer charter

Major broadcasters among backers of new UK TV freelancer charter

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A new charter pledging to improve the working conditions of freelancers in the UK TV sector has received backing from a range of broadcasters, streaming platforms and creative unions. The Freelance Charter, as it has been named, was unveiled at the Edinburgh TV Festival and has been spearheaded by the Coalition for Change working group.

The new charter comes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic’s significant impact on the UK’s cultural sector and its largely freelance workforce. It seeks to create an industry-wide working culture of respect and equality, eliminate harassment and bullying and ensure that whistleblowing is treated consistently across the UK TV industry.

Other objectives of the charter include making recruitment fairer and more equal by ending practices such as cronyism, diversifying the industry to better represent British society, encouraging training to help tackle unconscious bias, supporting continued skills development and pathways to promotion and improving the overall mental health of those involved in TV production.

The charter was set out with input from around 100 industry figures. Within its first year, it will be subject to two reviews (January and August 2022) which will seek to further widen its scope. Following this, reviews will take place on an annual basis.

So far, signatories include broadcasters such as BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky, streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, and the creative union Bectu, among many others. The creation of the charter was led by Sky UK and Ireland MD of Content Zai Bennett and UKTV Director of Commissioning Richard Watsham.

Bennett commented: “As a living document, the charter gives us all a useful framework to hold ourselves and others accountable, and it is an important first step in working together to improve conditions and create a culture of mutual respect and support.”

Watsham added: “We believe that improving wellbeing will not only safeguard our talent but will deliver even greater creative success. We’d like to appeal now for all organizations to sign up to the first version of the charter.”

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