LONDON: U.K. watchdog The Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) has launched a fierce attack on British broadcasters, claiming that some types of children’s programs are becoming ‘endangered species.’
In its first major review of children’s programming since 1992, the BSC noted a ‘decline in preschool, factual and homegrown programs [and] a huge increase in the number of cartoons.’
Although the volume of children’s programming has increased dramatically thanks to the arrival of new broadcasters, the BSC found a variety of reasons to rebuke the established terrestrial networks, ITV and BBC, for their performance in 1996.
While ITV has lessened its overall reliance on cartoons since 1992, the BSC criticized its reduced commitment to children’s drama and factual programs.
At the BBC, animation accounted for 35 percent of children’s output last year compared to 26 percent in 1992. The public broadcaster’s commitment to preschool is also called into question by the BSC, which says high-profile time slots on BBC1 have been swapped for unpredictable ones on BBC2.
The BSC has made recommendations for improvement, though none are legally binding. In particular, it called for the BBC, cable and satellite to be subject to tighter rules on provision, diversity and foreign quota for children’s programs. The chairman of the commission, Lady Howe, noted that ‘children have the right to access a varied and diverse diet of programming.’