UK Broadcasters to Stop Using ‘BAME’ Acronym in Favour of Specificity

UK broadcasters have agreed to avoid the use of the collective term ‘BAME’ (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) — wherever more specific terms are available.

In a joint press statement, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Viacom-owned Channel 5 said they will all try and move away from the “catch all term,” which the research found has a lack of trust around it due to the belief it has been used to hide failings in the representation of specific ethnic groups.

“The move towards specificity, and away from a catch-all term, paves the way for greater acknowledgement of the unique experience of people from different ethnic backgrounds and offers insight into the issues facing specific groups,” said the statement, which was backed with quotes from diversity chiefs at all major broadcasters.

The recommendation to avoid the acronym is from a Sir Lenny Henry Centre (LHC) for Media Diversity report, which included in-depth interviews with journalists, academics, network groups, writers and thought leaders, as well as audience focus groups and thorough linguistic analysis, confirms Deadline.

The networks will instead use more specific terms whenever they are available, as part of the industry’s drive to focus on increasing representation and boosting diversity, inclusion and equity.

If necessary to use, the report recommended BAME be “broken out in full” wherever possible as “Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic” or individual groups be referred to in full when broadcasters are being more specific.

Sarita Malik, Marcus Ryder, Stevie Marsden, Robert Lawson and Matt Gee, authors of the LHC report, said: We are very happy that British broadcasters are taking the issue of racial language seriously and we’re happy to undertake this piece of work. We believe that while there can still be utility in the use of collective terms, the priority should always be to ensure clear and simple communication that is trusted by audiences . We hope that our report will help broadcasters to achieve this, and as language develops, they regularly revisit this and related issues.”