14 February, 2014
Channel 4’s ‘Benefits Street’ is one of the most talked about programmes in recent memory, fuelled by masses of media attention and very shouty headlines.
We now learn that the BBC is working on ‘Famous, Rich and Hungry’, a show in which ‘celebs’ live with families experiencing food poverty. To see what it’s like…
It’s hard to know what to think. Are the shows’ participants being fairly represented, or exploited? Do programmes like these actually help raise awareness and debate around important issues? Should the media be required to present a considered, rounded picture?
We’ll hear more on Monday no doubt, during ‘Benefits Britain: The Live Debate’.
In the meantime lend your support to ‘Who Benefits?’, a campaign to collect and promote a wider range of stories from people for whom the welfare state is a real and positive necessity. The work of a coalition of charities, the campaign has so far collected over 3,000 signatories to a petition against ‘Benefits Street’, arguing that it conforms to negative stereotypes, is not representative and is skewing the public debate.
It will be interesting to see how much mainstream media attention the campaign can attract.