BBC must engage with UK’s diverse communities: Sarpong

FILE PHOTO: June Sarpong (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images).
FILE PHOTO: June Sarpong (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images).

DIVERSITY is the only way for BBC to remain as the broadcaster of choice, its newly appointed director has said.

June Sarpong, 42, has opined that the corporation will only remain “the broadcaster of choice” by “cultivating inclusion”.

The director of creative diversity at the corporation was speaking in her major address since taking up the role last year.

She noted in a writing in the Huffington Post that the makeup and shape of Britain’s viewing audience is changing quickly and engaging with the diverse audience in the UK is the only way to remain as the broadcaster of their choice.

“And we can only continue to make the case for the BBC as a broadcaster of choice by cultivating inclusion and harnessing the power of our diversity.

“Put simply, we need to reflect and engage with the UK’s diverse communities both on and off screen, and to produce the inclusive conditions required for diversity to thrive.”

There are real hurdles for inclusion, which have slowed the progress and caused the emergence of roles that support diversity.

She pointed out: “Part of the problem is that these barriers cannot always be seen, but they can definitely be felt if your lived experience of being different has exposed you to them.”

The African-origin director was born in Newham to Ghanaian parents Thelma (née Amihere) and Samuel Sarpong.

Sarpong was made an OBE in the New Year Honours for services to broadcasting.

Her appointment at BBC is an attempt by the broadcaster to ensure the corporation reflects modern Britain.

She began her career on radio, before becoming a presenter for MTV and Loose Women.