Saturday, February 20, 2010

The BBC, as everyone knows, is supposed to be impartial. In fact the Corporation itself claims that it is founded on trust, and is independent impartial and honest. But readers of this blog are aware of editorial integrity and discrimination issues which cast doubt on BBC impartiality. The forthcoming visit of the Pope to the UK will further test their claim of impartiality.

The BBC has a TV channel specially devoted to news. However a Valentine's Day demonstration (photo) against the Pope went completely unreported by the channel, and I couldn't find any mention on the BBC news website. Was that chance, or was it perhaps because of an ethos at the BBC emanating from Mark Thompson's own beliefs?

It's interesting to note a change in the guidelines to programme makers which, amongst other things, removed all reference to fair treatment of lesbian, gay and bisexual people (see blog on 9 December 2009.) This happened in 2005, and was presumably part of the new diversity strategy in which diversity was to be seen as a "creative opportunity" for the BBC to engage the totality of the UK audience.

The Pope's stance on diversity is well known. An example - he's described homosexuality as a tendency towards an "intrinsic moral evil."

Kids' message boards which allowed discussion of relationships and growing-up issues were peremptorily pruned in December 2008 (see previous blog) although religious self-expression is still found on the boards, for example in this thread. BBC children's TV now, in effect has its own Section 28 in place, and it's a reasonably safe bet that LGB equality issues will not make an appearance on the forthcoming Newsround election programme.

Unfortunately there was no mention of The Justin Campaign and Football v Homophobia on yesterday's editions of Newsround, Sportsround and Sportsday. Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), the FA and the PFA (Professional Footballers' Association) have endorsed the Justin Campaign. For the first time there will be an international day against homophobia in football to raise awareness on the problem of homophobia in amateur and professional football. Obviously this will need media support to catch on, and I wonder whether the events last night will be mentioned on Football Focus or next week's Sportsround?

Recent reports are that Mark Damazer, the controller of Radio 4, would like the Pope to give a talk on Thought for the Day. It seems that Mark Thompson raised the matter with the Pope during a visit to the Vatican earlier in the month.

Some people might be forgiven for thinking that Mr Thompson, for one, isn't impartial. But the problem arises if he allows this bias to influence his role. Unfortunately, given the circumstantial evidence, it appears that happened right from the start.

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