TV chief blames law for 'boring' poll

Click to follow
Television made the election look like a white, middle-aged, male activity which was boring to the population thanks to outdated rules placed on broadcasters by the Representation of the People Act, the head of ITN said last night.

Richard Tait, editor in chief of ITN, called for the act to be scrapped and pleaded for a party leaders debate to be agreed before the next election.

In a speech to the European Media Forum in London, Mr Tait said the good intentions of the RPA led to boring and incomplete coverage. "Just think of all the interesting stories and issues which were covered in the press during the campaign but only appeared on television in a very constricted form," he said. "Where was the blow by blow coverage of one of the most remarkable constituency battles since the war in Tatton?"

Mr Tait believes that the act's restriction on television coverage of an individual constituency - that every candidate must take part - makes many stories impossible to do.

Because of the RPA broadcasters were forced to concentrate on the party leaderships, he said. "As a result, the politicians who appear on television during elections are even more unrepresentative of the population as a whole than they are already - politics on television during elections often seems an almost exclusively male, white, middle aged activity."