Today marks one year since Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches: The Truth About Traveller Crime’ first aired. The programme promoted highly damaging tropes of Gypsy and Traveller communities.
Following its airing, the show received widespread criticism and a campaign by Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) saw just over 7000 people complain to Ofcom.
In response, Ofcom launched an investigation for potential breaches of content standards for television and radio. The investigation should have been completed within 50 days, but it is now one year since the show first aired and Ofcom has yet to announce an outcome.
According to the GATE HERTS report Hate: “As regular as rain”, after the airing of ‘The Truth About Traveller Crime’ there was a “noticeable uptick in hostile social media commenting on the communities” and a reported 45 cases of hate crime directed at the Travelling communities, in April alone.
In response to Ofcom’s lack of outcome, FFT will join Traveller Movement and Stop Funding Hate’s campaign on Twitter by tagging @Ofcom and using #WheresOfcom and #StopTravellerHate throughout the day.
Speaking on Ofcom’s ongoing investigation, a Spokesperson from Friends, Families and Travellers said:
“Ofcom had a real opportunity to set a precedent that such dangerous and prejudicial programming will not be tolerated, but the damage is already done.
Inflammatory and dehumanising programmes against entire communities should not go without repercussions, especially at a time when the Government is already seeking to increase powers against Gypsy and Traveller people.
It is vital that this investigation comes to a conclusive end, and Ofcom demonstrates that putting entire communities on trial by press will not be tolerated. Everyone deserves to live free of fear and scapegoating.”
A comment from Travellers Against Racism, which was set up following the Dispatches programme, says:
“Our children were seen as guilty of something they can’t understand, and are branded as criminal. When we look to people to help us, when we finally see some hope through all the hate, Ofcom has stuck its head in the sand. Where is the fairness when we truly need it?”
Notes for Editor
About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)
Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works to end racism and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and to protect the right to pursue a nomadic way of life.
Sami McLaren, Communications Officer
Tel: 07436 228910 Email: [email protected]
‘Ofcom launch investigation into Channel 4 Show “Dispatches: The Truth About Traveller Crime”’. Friends, Families and Travellers. May 2020. View here.
‘Hate: “As regular as rain” – A pilot research project into the psychological effects of hate crime on Gypsy, Traveller and Roma (GTR) communities’. GATE HERTS. December 2020. View here.