BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Nihal Arthanayake has said an “overwhelmingly white” working environment is affecting his mental health.
The presenter told a journalism diversity conference on Wednesday: “It’s really affecting me that I walk in and all I see is white people.”
His colleagues’ response when he told them this was to reply defensively that they were not being racist, he claimed as he said that was missing the point.
Speaking at the Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF) conference at BBC Media City in Salford, he said: “I’ve seen a lot of people leave this building because they couldn’t deal with the culture.”
He also said others found they had to try to be a certain type of person to progress with the broadcaster, adding: “If you want journalists to progress, they have to be who they are.”
He went on: “The hardest thing is to walk into a room, look around and nobody looks like you.”
The presenter made the comments in an on-stage interview with Jo Adetunji, editor of The Conversation, at the JDF’s annual equality, diversity and inclusion conference organised by the NCTJ, which trains new journalists.
The JDF awards bursaries to aspiring journalists from diverse backgrounds who do not have the financial means to support themselves through their training.
.@TherealNihal says he is always “looking for the bully in the playground”, as a person of colour from a state school in Essex.
— NCTJ (@NCTJ_news) November 29, 2023