BBC's Dyke to chair Cultural Diversity Network

LONDON: The BBC's director general Greg Dyke will take over the chairmanship of the Cultural Diversity Network (CDN) from Channel 4 for one year from December.

An official release informs that the CDN began in 2000 when all the major British television broadcasters joined forces to change the face of television. They work towards fair representation of Britain's ethnic population on screen and behind the camera.

Dyke had the following remarks to make - "Broadcasters are working hard to make the industry more diverse and ensure its relevance to today's audiences. I hope by being Chair of the CDN the BBC can make a real contribution to this. For example, we have just completed major research into what ethnic minority audiences want to see on screen, and how we can better portray different people's lives. This is just one of the things that will help us chair the CDN in this next key phase."

The outgoing Chair of CDN and Channel 4 CEO Mark Thompson added, "There is real commitment to cultural diversity at the most senior level of all the companies in the CDN. At Channel 4 we have recently for the first time funded training schemes to encourage ethnic minorities into the industry in partnership with our key suppliers, and have funded three ethnic minority trainee deputy commissioning editors. Changes do not happen overnight, but all the broadcasters have kept diversity at the top of their agenda and as a body we are moving in the right direction."

CDN's basic objecftives are:

- Set targets for ethnic minority employment, including senior executive levels 

- Establish an online database of ethnic minority talent - Modernising the casting and portrayal of ethnic minorities in mainstream programming 

- Share non-commercially sensitive research on cultural diversity

- Obtain a comprehensive picture of ethnic minority employment in UK broadcasting

- Establish industry standards for the collection of ethnic monitoring data

- Sensitise the broadcasters so that they call for diversity in content and employment 

- Raise the profile of multicultural issues through a series of events

Carlton's Clive Jones was the brains behind the CDN. In 1995 Carlton commissioned research showed that it was loosing large chunks of its Black and Asian audiences to cable and satellite channels. ITC and BSC research confirmed these findings and added that ethic minorities found terrestrial TV to be increasingly irrelevant to their lives.

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