Sunday, June 18, 2006

Children's Commissioner to answer questions on Newsround

Professor Al Aynsley-Green was appointed last year as the English Children's Commissioner. The post was initiated as part of the Children Act 2004 legislation, but the NSPCC believe that he wasn't granted sufficient authority.

Norway has had a commissioner for children since 1981. Reidar Hjermann is the current appointee, and he's obliged to check compliance with the UNCRC, as is, for example, the Swedish commissioner Lena Nyberg.

Sir Al will be answering questions from Newsround viewers. The problem is that Newsround does not recognize the existence of young lgbt people, and therefore it's a racing certainty that no questions about lgbt issues or homophobia will be put to him. The BBC will probably deny they received any such questions if Sir Al asks, as it's clear from the way Alex Parks was treated in her star chat (see Blog 16 February 2006) that unwanted questions are silently weeded out.

So there is no real alternative - the Children's Commissioner should go out of his way to talk about the problems of heterosexism, being gay at school, homophobic language and homophobic bullying. He shouldn't wait for questions to be asked - Newsround has already invisibilized lgbt kids for far too long. And, if anything, things might get worse under the "Creative Future" banner (see Blog 10 June 2006), when CBBC will limit its target audience to 7-11 year olds.

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