Earlier this week, Channel 4 News published its long-awaited Diversity Charter, aimed at ensuring that people with disabilities, women, and black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) people are fairly represented within its programming.

The report sets out the broadcaster’s “360° approach to diversity”, stating that, by 2020, 6% of all its staff will be people with disabilities, roughly three times the current amount.

Dubbed ‘The Rio Commitments’, the channel also outlines plans to ensure that 10% of its production team for the Rio Paralympics in 2016 are people with disabilities, highlighting the importance of including those with disabilities across the organisation, from commissioning roles to presenters.

The move follows similar commitments from the BBC, Sky and others, and we applaud these media outlets for their ambitions to fairly represent people from minority groups.

Channel 4 has even gone further in its commitment, announcing that executives will receive reduced bonuses in instances where diversity targets are missed, promising to “put our money where our mouth is.”

Much has been made in recent weeks of the realistic representation of people with disabilities, following Golden Globe winner Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Stephen Hawking in the film ‘The Theory of Everything’.

It has been argued
that casting able-bodied actors in the small amount of roles available to actors with disabilities does the latter group a disservice, perpetuating the myth of disability as something that can be overcome, rather than a single element of a person’s full life.

We welcome Channel 4’s commitment to encouraging the fair representation of disabled people, increasing employment for this diverse group and raising awareness of the myriad skills of people with disabilities.

We hope that this signals a growing understanding of the benefits of diversity and fairly representing groups too often left in the background.

Gemma Taylor, media assistant.