Tuesday, January 31, 2006

China censors decree gay cowboy film too sensitive

The official news agency in China said that the film's "sensitive topic" of gay love meant that Brokeback Mountain could not be screened.

Grrr. Those Chinese film censors will soon be as bad as the censors on CBBC Newsround. The word "gay" alone is censored in that programme. See my blog on 26 Jan.

Tomorrow is the start of LGBT history month.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Mozart Quiz

What is the point of a quiz when the quizmaster doesn't know the subject properly.

The Mozart Quiz on Newsround's website is there to mark 250 years since his birth on 27 January 1756.

Question 4 - How many operas did Mozart write?

A: Five
B: 41
C: 178

They say 41 is the answer. Don't they know the difference between an opera and a symphony!

Question 7 - Mozart's last opera is called The Marriage of?

A: Figaro
B: Fabio
C: Florino

They say Figaro - but that's not the right answer. The Marriage of Figaro wasn't Mozart's last opera.

Question 9 - The manuscripts of Mozart's nine symphonies sold for....

Hold on a minute. I thought Mozart composed 41 symphonies.

Those Newsround people should go back and do their homework before testing anyone else. And at the same time they should learn to stop being prejudiced. By the way, there's only two days to go before the start of LGBT history month.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The main story on Newsround tonight was about innocent children who've got their DNA on police file, and want the information deleted.

Who discovered the structure of DNA? Most people say Crick and Watson who were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1961. But their work would not have been possible without research by the Crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, a woman working in science in the 1950s when women were still treated as second class people.

There were separate common rooms and dining rooms for men and women at the college where she worked. Her painstaking work using X-rays together with thousands of calculations was crucial, and it's likely that exposure to radiation cost her life from cancer at the age of 37

Thursday, January 26, 2006

People in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones

Newsround (25/01/2006): "Children in China won't be getting the full picture for some time to come"

No they won't, but neither will children in Britain if Newsround doesn't change its ways.

Yesterday on Newsround there was a news item about Google agreeing to censor its search engine in China. Laura Jones said that when she was reporting from China last year many children seemed afraid to speak freely. Lizo introduced Laura's report by saying "You're probably used to your mum telling you what you can and can't look at on the internet, but what if the government was on your back too. Well that's the situation in China."

Here in Britain, it's not only government or mum, it's also some people at Auntie BBC who think it's wrong to be gay and who are censoring news, contributing to the already difficult time gay children suffer.

Years ago, when Lib Dem MPs Simon Hughes and Mark Oaten were at school, gay people were frowned upon and nearly always found it impossible to admit their sexuality to anyone. They grew up feeling a need to lie in order to be accepted.

But today things should be different. People aren't supposed to suffer discrimination in Britain. Young people today shouldn't feel ashamed to be lesbian, gay, bi, or trans.

Newsround is so prejudiced against a minority, it can't bring itself to mention us. This blog will continue until the BBC recognises that Newsround is treating children no better than the oppressive regime in China treats people who think for themselves.

People in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones.

Cyril Husbands at BBC Diversity Centre is taking a very long time to reply to my last email. I'll have to send a reminder next week if I don't get a reply soon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Monday, January 16, 2006

Stonewall Workplace Equality Index

The Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, showcasing the 100 most gay-friendly employers in the UK during the last year came out today, ahead of the official launch tomorrow. It's the second year Stonewall has published the list, and not surprisingly, like last year, the BBC isn't there. After all, who would want to work for an employer that thinks words like "gay" and "lesbian" are unsuitable for young people to hear.

Every family pays the licence fee so every family should be treated with equal respect. Some of the licence fee must go towards paying for the BBC's Diversity Centre, so the least that we should expect is that the Diversity is there to promote diversity, and not fight against it or try to keep the status quo. We shall see.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Newsround gets an 'F' for fail

Newsround is failing its viewers

I've written a long reply to Cyril Husbands at the BBC Diversity Centre, and I sent a copy to Ian Prince. So now we may have to wait a while, but hopefully not too long

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Reply from BBC Diversity Centre

Last night I had a reply from the BBC Diversity Centre. I was disappointed with what I read and so will write again, with some more details, and then see if they understand the points clearly.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Back to that email from Ian Prince. Near the end he points to what he says is the extensive amount of support for LGBT issues on wider BBC output aimed at an older audience than CBBC, and he gives examples of BBC Teens and Onelife websites:


Here is part of the BBC's extensive LGBT support from the Onelife website as at today 7 January 2006.

The UK doesn't recognise same sex partnerships in law except in certain situations. Currently, same sex couples can't marry or register their partnership in a way that would give them legal status....

Other, everyday ways in which lesbian and gay couples are treated differently from heterosexual couples in the UK include:

Discrimination in the workplace

There is currently no specific law to protect people in the workplace who may be suffering discrimination because of their sexuality, though this is set to change in 2003....

Pension schemes....

Being next of kin....

In fact, it's a catalogue of out-of-date information.

Friday, January 06, 2006

I hope that Newsround decides to report on LGBT awareness month in February.

Alan Turing FRS
They could have reports from one or two schools and on some important people relevant today like Alan Turing who helped crack the German WWII Enigma codes and was instrumental in the invention of computers.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Yesterday I said that Newsround was entirely wrong to promote a sexual orientation, a race or a religion. And soon afterwards the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain, Sir Iqbal Sacranie was speaking on the radio condemning gay people and civil partnerships. This is the Mirror website report:

4 January 2006

A MUSLIM leader last night angered gays by condemning civil partnerships and branding homosexuality harmful.

Sir Iqbal Sacranie, head of the Muslim Council of Britain, said same-sex relationships risked damaging the foundations of society.

He told BBC Radio 4's PM programme that homosexuality spread disease and was immoral.

Sir Iqbal said civil partnerships were "harmful" and not acceptable.

Peter Tatchell, of gay rights group OutRage!, responded to the remarks by saying: "It is tragic for one minority to attack another minority.

"The Muslim and gay communities suffer prejudice and discrimination."

Mr Tatchell added: "We should stand together to fight Islamophobia and homophobia."

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I wasn't best pleased with Ian Prince's email insinuation last February that we were asking him to support an lgbt agenda for Newsround. Surely fair reporting and inclusiveness should always be expected, as the BBC recognised in their Producers' Guidelines as far back as 1996. I'm not asking Newsround to promote any sexuality, as Mr Prince seemed to think. This is just about recognising that gay and lesbian people are people who are entitled to be treated fairly just like anyone else.

In fact I think it's entirely wrong for Newsround to promote a sexual orientation, a race or a religion. And that's exactly what effectively happened with Islam Week, a whole week (24-28 January 2005) of programmes on the Islamic religion. Many people of different faiths and also atheists believed that this week of uncritical coverage of one faith, aimed at young people, was a mistake.

Newsround explained Islam Week on the basis that Muslim children were alienated at school and they were more likely to be bullied due to the terrorist incidents on 11 September 2001 and what was happening in the middle east. They also say that Islam is the largest and fastest growing religious minority in the country. However, I think that Islam Week was not the right way to deal with prejudice. The proper way to combat bullying, alienation and Islamophobia is to advance the values of inclusiveness, tolerance and diversity in a modern society.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Marriage good, civil partnership bad

Newsround, according to Roy Milani - Head of CBBC News and Factual Programmes, is a UK-based programme which reflects British society and news. Mr Milani says Newsround will also report stories around the world if they consider them relevant enough to a young British audience.

Last summer Newsround reported a news item about a Nepalese couple who married thousands of miles away on Mount Everest.

The marriage was unusual for Nepal because the pair come from different castes, or social groups."If some people are loving each other they have to get married," Pem Dorjee told the BBC. "That's why we want to give all Nepali people [the message] that people are people so there's no problem about caste."

What a great pity Newsround failed to report the UK news in December when gay people loving each other were allowed to have a similar ceremony to marriage called a civil partnership.

Newsround is a UK-based programme which reflects British society and news. Yeah right!