Ofcom proposes new rules to protect people on TV and radio ahead of Love Island final

The regulator is also offering new guidance on the use of lie detectors

Jack taking the Love Island lie detector test

Ofcom has proposed two new rules to protect people taking part in TV and radio shows.

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The UK regulator said in a statement that while it already has safeguarding measures in place, it acknowledged that “there has been growing openness and concern about mental health and wellbeing in recent years,” and “a steady rise in complaints expressing concern” about the welfare of participants.

The two new rules, which come ahead of Monday night’s Love Island final, focus on protecting the dignity and wellbeing of TV and radio participants, while also ensuring that they do not come under “unjustified distress and anxiety”.

The rules apply to reality shows, documentaries, news and current affairs, phone-ins, quiz shows, talent contests and other forms of factual and entertainment programmes. Drama, sitcoms and soaps are not included.

The two proposed rules are:

  • Due care must be taken over the welfare, wellbeing and dignity of participants in programmes
  • Participants must not be caused unjustified distress or anxiety by taking part in programmes or by the broadcast of those programmes
Ofcom received over 700 complaints after Love Island's Lucie was left in tears when her partner Joe Garratt told her to spend less time with the male contestants
Ofcom received over 700 complaints after Love Island’s Lucie was left in tears when her partner  told her to spend less time with the male contestants

Ofcom said that they plan to issue guidance to help broadcasters follow the new rules, with advice on how they might look after participants, while also encouraging broadcasters to “consider aspects such as the use of lie detectors”.

The new rules come months after the death of former Jeremy Kyle Show guest Steve Dymond, who reportedly took part in a lie detector test during a recording for the show earlier this year.

Love Island opted to scrap its Lie-Detector Challenge this summer. It comes in the wake of the show’s revised duty of care and a year after a fight broke out between eventual winners Dani Dyer and Jack Fincham in response to his results.

Former 2018 contestant Dr Alex George praised the show for axing the segment claiming the test “simply does not work”.

“Detectors which measure pulse or respiratory rate aren’t that accurate quite frankly. I am glad it has gone, hopefully forever,” he told Racing Post.

RadioTimes.com previously approached ITV for comment on the broadcaster’s decision not to include the challenge this year.

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The Love Island final airs at 9pm on ITV2 on Monday