Wednesday, December 19, 2007

To censor or not to censor?

That was the question for Radio 1 yesterday. An old song containing the words 'slut' and 'faggot' was at the centre of a controversy when the radio station initially thought it was time to cut out the offending words.

But after a day of complaints, Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt (also the BBC's teen tsar) decided he was mistaken to cut out the words, and reversed his earlier decision. Some people believe the song will be number 1 in the Christmas charts. Mr Parfitt said "It is not always easy to get this right, mindful of our responsibility to our young audience. The unedited version will be played from now on.

"While we would never condone prejudice of any kind, we know our audiences are smart enough to distinguish between maliciousness and creative freedom. In the context of this song, I do not feel that there is any negative intent behind the use of the words, hence the reversal of the decision."

The question for Newsround is whether or not to report this Christmas and LGBT-related news story, and I expect the answer will be to keep silent.

So the BBC has decided it can broadcast the lyrics uncut for Radio 1's young audience, but probably won't report the surrounding debate on Newsround because usually - as far as CBBC is concerned - gay is the offensive and unbroadcastable word, not faggot.

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