BBC to ask viewers what they think of its diversity work

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The BBC is to ask its staff and viewers how they feel about its ‘Diversity Strategy’.

An online questionnaire will be open for eight weeks to allow BBC staff and audiences to have their say. It asks participants whether they agree that the corporation should make programmes that “reflect modern Britain” and whether efforts should be made to ensure that staff are from certain places and backgrounds.

The corporation recently carried out its first research into the portrayal of lesbian, gay and bisexual people and concluded that lesbian and bisexual people in particular feel underrepresented in its programmes.

It also found that one in five people is uncomfortable with seeing gays and lesbians on television.

The corporation began the research last April, after a series of unfortunate incidents in which it was accused of sanctioning homophobia.

The research on LGB people did not take into account transgender people. However, the online questionnaire has four questions on gender, including whether participants “sometimes adopt the gender role opposite to that assigned at birth”.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Responses will help to formulate key equality and diversity objectives and feed into the BBC’s Diversity Strategy to be published in April 2011. Every division of the BBC will then be responsible for taking forward specific actions to meet these priorities.”

Amanda Rice, the BBC’s head of diversity said: “For the BBC, diversity is about having the most talented staff from the broadest range of backgrounds and making original programmes which reflect the diversity of UK audiences.

“We want to consult with you on the BBC’s ambitions for diversity and to ask you what you think of our plans.”

The consultation can be accessed here