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CDN supports pledge – but opts not to sign

The Creative Diversity Network has opted not to sign Broadcast’s Expert Women pledge but has promised to endorse it and its actions in writing.

The CDN has taken the decision despite both the BBC and the wider ITN organisation refusing to sign the pledge on the grounds that the CDN, of which both are members, would be a more effective vehicle to do so and would ensure pan-industry support.

Both ITN’s Channel 4 News and Sky News have independently signed the Expert Women pledge, which asks broadcasters to “attempt to increase the number of expert women interviewed in broadcast news”.

But at a CDN Steering Committee meeting in March, it was decided that the pledge would be endorsed in writing, but not signed.

The CDN said it would “support specific research activity across news and current affairs to help drive activity” relating to the issue.

It will also work on implementing its existing strategic goal of “prioritising gender and age in the workforce and on screen”, and expand it to include the on-screen representation of expert women.

But Equality and Human Rights Commission chairman Trevor Phillips, one of the founders of the CDN, said its failure to sign was “surprising”.

He added: “What will make the difference is broadcasters introducing an internal monitoring system. They should be open and transparent and publish the numbers. I will be pretty underwhelmed if they respond to this by whining about the metrics.

“Monitoring isn’t about embarrassing people, but understanding what it is they have to do. And in big organisations such as the BBC and ITN, it’s not just about sharing best practice but sharing best practitioners – moving individuals who are making a difference to under-performing departments. When they publish the results is when I know they are taking this seriously.”

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