Sunday, June 13, 2010

I'm on a few mailing lists and yesterday received an email from GetEqual - a grassroots organisation seeking equality in the United States. The email was about a policy which prevents gay or bisexual people in America from revealing their sexual orientation in the US Military. The policy is an infringement of human rights, because it unreasonably prevents freedom of speech and expression, as well as being discriminatory.

Efforts are underway to repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) policy, but it seems that Ike Skelton, a Democrat from Missouri and the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is against the repeal because he is worried it would involve a national discussion, and children might become aware of homosexuality. Mr Skelton said "What do mommies and daddies say to their 7-year-old child?"

The email I received stressed that "Skelton wants to pretend that LGBT people don't even exist."

Sounds like this Ike Skelton's got similar worries to those in charge of the BBC. Mark Thompson took over as BBC Director-General in 2004. A year later new guidelines were published which no longer included long-standing advice that LGB people make up a significant minority, entitled to be treated fairly.

According to the BBC, David Jordan is responsible for the development and implementation of the BBC's editorial policy and standards. David wasn't in charge when the guidelines were revised in 2005, but I wonder why advice about treating LGB people fairly was removed in 2005 after it had been in place for ten years. Such a statement could not possibly do any harm, but has the potential to do a lot of good.

Some time ago Ofcom drew attention to the lack of content for older kids, and during last year's Showcomotion concerns were expressed about the lack of drama for those aged 10 and over. Speakers felt that earlier dramas like See How They Run and Grange Hill had been popular because they hadn't shied away from issues like drug addiction and abusive relationships. Participants wondered whether today's drama addresses issues children face in the modern world.

Showcomotion has been rebooted as The Children's Media Conference, and takes place this year from 30 June to 2 July 2010. I don't believe the conference has ever been mentioned on Newsround, despite its obvious relevance to Newsround's audience.

No doubt Save Kids' TV will be making their "jobs for the boys" case, but the real problem is the type and quality of programmes being commissioned - now almost exclusively by the BBC. Never has BBC Children's TV been more misguided than it is at present, and those in charge do not even seem to recognise the predicament.

No comments: