Ofcom has said it will assess every complaint made ‘carefully’ to protect contestants ahead of the launch of Love Island 2022.
The watchdog brought in new protections for people taking part in all TV and radio programmes last year, ensuring that they are ‘properly looked after’ by broadcasters.
Adam Baxter, Ofcom’s director of broadcasting standards, said of the rules: ‘We’ve seen growing societal concern, and complaints volumes, about the potential implications for participants’ wellbeing.
‘These recognise that, sadly, for some people taking part in high-profile reality TV or talent shows, their moment in the spotlight can come at a cost.
‘Some contestants’ mental health has suffered greatly. Others have found themselves the target of online trolls, long after the cameras stopped rolling.
‘Last year, we brought in new protections for people taking part in programmes, putting their welfare at the heart of the programme-making process.
‘This means that broadcasters now have to take due care of people they feature who might be at risk of significant harm, primarily vulnerable people and those not used to being in the public eye.’
He added: ‘We carefully assess every complaint we receive, and we make finely balanced judgments every day.
‘Given the importance of the right to freedom of expression, we only step in or take action against a broadcaster when we consider it necessary.
‘So settle in for a summer of love. Here at Ofcom, we’ll be ready to carefully look at each and every complaint we receive, to check that audiences and people appearing in programmes are being properly protected.’
The same rules apply to all broadcasters.
ITV also has its own duty of care protocols for islanders, including psychological support in and out of the villa.
Last year, 36,324 complaints were made about Love Island, with two-thirds being about Faye Winter and Teddy Soares. The complaints required no further action.
This year’s summer of love is about to begin, with islanders including Gemma Owen (Michael Owen’s daughter), and dancer Tasha Ghouri, who has a cochlear implant and is the show’s first deaf contestant, hoping to find love in the villa.
Laura Whitmore is returning as host, with Iain Stirling back as the iconic voiceover.
Love Island begins tonight at 9pm on ITV2.
What is Ofcom and what does it cover?
Ofcom is the regulator for the communications services that we use and rely on each day.
The watchdog makes sure people get the best from their broadband, home phone and mobile services, as well as keeping an eye on TV and radio.
Ofcom deals with most content on television, radio and video-on-demand services, including the BBC. However, if your complaint is about something you saw or heard in a BBC programme, you may need to complain to the BBC first.
Its rules for television and radio programmes are set out in the Broadcasting Code.
The rules in the Broadcasting Code also apply to the BBC iPlayer.
This Broadcasting Code is the rule book that broadcasters have to follow and it covers a number of areas, including; protecting the under-18s, protecting audiences from harmful and/or offensive material and ensuring that news, in whatever form, is reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality.
Audiences can complain to Ofcom if they believe a breach of the Broadcasting Code has been made.
Every time Ofcom receives a complaint from a viewer or listener, they assess it to see if it needs further investigation.
If Ofcom decide to investigate, they will include the case in a list of new investigations, published in the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin.
An investigation is a formal process which can take some time depending on the complexity of the issues involved.
Ofcom can also launch investigations in the absence of a complaint from a viewer or listener.