Friday, December 07, 2007

Whatever happened to 11 Million Takeover Day?

In May, Newsround's website reported the launch of 11 Million Takeover Day and said "It is hoped that kids will be in charge of lots of organisations - and Newsround is taking part." But Newsround's participation was practically doomed from the start.

For Takeover Day to be seen as a legitimate attempt to put children in charge, the BBC would need to allow them editorial control of Newsround for the day. But my previous blog (30 November) showed that CBBC bosses have little trust or confidence in children.

Next we come to the number of children - 11 million. That's the number of children and young people in England aged up to 18. But what about those in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales? Newsround is broadcast throughout the United Kingdom, so it wouldn't be fair to have it run only by English kids, even assuming the BBC had been prepared to allow the editorial takeover to go ahead.

Lastly, organisations taking part were expected to comply with child protection guidelines, including the following -

Always work with children in an open and transparent way. Your actions should be warranted, safe and applied equitably; Respect children at all times, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation. Don’t discriminate or show signs of approval or prejudice

So for a number of reasons there was never any chance of Newsround taking part in the event.

About a week after 11 Million Takeover Day, the Children's Commissioner for England, Sir Al Aynsley-Green, answered viewers' questions on Newsround's website, just as he had done in July 2006 shortly before Newsround's exclusion of 14 and 15 year-olds became apparent.

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