Ofcom to assess every Love Island complaint ‘carefully’ to protect contestants

·3-min read

Ofcom have said they’re “ready to carefully look at each and every complaint” ahead of the launch of Love Island to ensure contestants are “properly protected”.

The media watchdog brought in new protections for people taking part in TV and radio programmes last year, ensuring that they are “properly looked after” by broadcasters.

The UK regulator said people taking part in programmes must be informed about any potential welfare risks from appearing and how the broadcaster will seek to minimalise them.

Adam Baxter, Ofcom’s director of broadcasting standards, said: “We’ve seen growing societal concern, and complaints volumes, about the potential implications for participants’ wellbeing.

“These recognise that, sadly, for some people taking part in high-profile reality TV or talent shows, their moment in the spotlight can come at a cost.

“Some contestants’ mental health has suffered greatly. Others have found themselves the target of online trolls, long after the cameras stopped rolling.

“Last year, we brought in new protections for people taking part in programmes, putting their welfare at the heart of the programme-making process.

“This means that broadcasters now have to take due care of people they feature who might be at risk of significant harm, primarily vulnerable people and those not used to being in the public eye.”

Broadcasters have faced increased scrutiny following the deaths of former Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.

Mr Baxter revealed that two-thirds of the 36,324 Love Island complaints received last year were in relation to Faye Winter’s behaviour and language during a heated exchange with fellow Islander Teddy Soares – none of which required further action.

Mr Baxter added: “We carefully assess every complaint we receive, and we make finely balanced judgments every day.

“Given the importance of the right to freedom of expression, we only step in or take action against a broadcaster when we consider it necessary.

“So settle in for a summer of love. Here at Ofcom, we’ll be ready to carefully look at each and every complaint we receive, to check that audiences and people appearing in programmes are being properly protected.”

The eighth series of the popular ITV2 dating show launches on Monday at a new location in Majorca, with Laura Whitmore returning as host.

This year’s line-up includes England footballer Michael Owen’s daughter Gemma and dancer Tasha Ghouri, who has a cochlear implant and is the show’s first deaf contestant.

Millie Court and Liam Reardon were crowned the winners of the hit show last year.

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