Sajid Javid Backs Media Diversity but Opposes Minimum Targets
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid praised BBC director-general Tony Hall’s wishes to increase black, minority and ethnic individuals on television, however discouraged tokenism.
Javid went on to say, “I wish it was as easy as that, but I don’t think something like that in itself would achieve the desired results.
“The concern I would have is when you have an approach where it’s about reaching a quota or a certain number and it becomes an official target or requirement then you always run this risk someone might try to fill that just for the sake of filling it.
“I think the problem is more profound. It’s not just about having the black face or the brown face – it’s about building a sustainable pipeline of talent and naming sure people from all backgrounds, and that background in particular, think of this as a career opportunity for them.”
The minister however could not comment on the next BBC charter as it was not due for consideration until the next general election. He added, “I think it is sufficient to say, when the charter review happens, all these kinds of issues need to be looked at but it would be wrong for me to say this is the way to do it or that’s what they should look at.”
Although amused at suggestions that he could be the UK’s equivalent of Barack Obama Javid did hope that the increase of MPs from ethnic backgrounds might inspire the next generation.
He said, “Every Monday morning we get lots of school groups visiting Parliament, I see lots of young kids, and sometimes you see a school where most of the kids, when you look at it visibly, they are either mostly Asian kids or other ethnic minority kids.
“I would like to think, when they look at Parliament, when they watch a debate, when they see me or they see Diane Abbott, they actually look and think ‘You know what, putting politics aside, these people look like me so I could have that job one day’.
“I hope it in some way inspires them.”