Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Taste, Standards and the BBC

Following the furore last year over the behaviour of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, the BBC today issued its study - Taste, Standards and the BBC: Public attitudes to morality, values and behaviour in UK broadcasting

BBC Creative Director, Alan Yentob was interviewed this afternoon on the BBC News channel. Short excerpt -

John Sopel: If you think of the debate that took place .. twenty years ago in the era of say, Mary Whitehouse, it was all about swearing, it was all about nudity - when could you show these things. Has the debate sort of changed now - that it's not so much that, it's about the respect that you maybe show individuals, rather than kind of humiliation and things like that?

Alan Yentob: That's absolutely true. It's true. For instance, it's very interesting in this report that sexual behaviour or the presentation of sex on screen - nobody thinks it's a problem ......

The report makes clear, amongst other things, that BBC programmes must never condone or celebrate intimidation and humiliation for the purposes of entertainment. New guidance, it says, is needed to ensure that everyone involved in programme making for the BBC understands that malicious intrusion, intimidation and humiliation are unacceptable.

I'm doubtful whether this report will have any bearing on the way people and issues are treated. In May 2009 Jonathan Ross suggested, on Radio 2, that parents with a gay son ought to perhaps have their son adopted. I've written to Alan Yentob to ask him if, in his opinion, the report will help judge the acceptability or otherwise of Ross' remark.

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