Ofcom to issue stricter regulations to protect reality stars’ mental health

Ofcom has revealed it has strict new measures which broadcasters must follow to better the care for reality stars.

The stricter regulations come in following an investigation launched by the TV watchdog after four ITV stars took their lives following the time on their shows.

Steve Dymond, who was a contestant on The Jeremy Kyle Show, took his own life after his traumatic time on the show during which he failed a lie detector test.

Love Island contestants Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon, and the show's presenter Caroline Flack, have also taken their own lives following them finding fame on the show.

Following their deaths, Ofcom carried out an investigation into whether channels must look after the welfare of their contestants.

It concluded that broadcasters must protect them and make sure they have help to deal with matters such as trolling.

The new report said: "In recent years we have also seen a steady rise in complaints about the welfare of people taking part in programmes.

"Under these new rules, people taking part in programmes must also be informed about any potential welfare risks that might arise from their participation, and any steps the broadcaster or programme-maker intends to take to mitigate them."

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It added: "Treatment of people who appear to be put at risk of significant harm as a result of taking part in a programme is now included as an explicit example of material that might cause offence to audiences."

Adam Baxter, Ofcom’s Director of Standards and Audience Protection, said: "People taking part in TV and radio programmes deserve to be properly looked after.

"Our new protections set a clear standard of care for broadcasters to meet – striking a careful balance between broadcasters’ creative freedom and the welfare of the people they feature."

ITV has put in place duty of care following four stars taking their own lives after appearing in its shows.

For Love Island, the channel hired physician and a former Chief Medical Officer Dr Paul Litchfield who has extensive experience in the area of mental health.

* Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected]

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