Saturday, August 28, 2010

Should the public be expected to fork out £200 or so to get answers from the BBC? That's what it cost to attend the Children's Media Conference 2010. The Conference theme this year was: New Decade, New Challenges: How can children’s media make a positive impact on kids’ lives?

'Meet the Commissioners - BBC' had been timetabled to take place at 2pm on Thursday 1st July 2010, so if I'd gone along I would have had a chance to ask all kinds of questions to the people who commission programmes for CBBC - people like Joe Godwin and Damian Kavanagh. Reportedly those attending heard that CBBC have "got to be really brave" in what they commission. Sounds good, but what exactly does it mean?

In actual fact I'd already emailed a question or two in June, well before the start of the conference. I began by explaining that, in 2006, I'd discovered that feedback to Newsround from 14-year-olds and 15-year-olds was being filtered out. Next I referred to my discovery that the CBBC Bullying message board had similarly filtered out messages about homophobic bullying.

And then I went on to question whether any new dramas or other children's services were being planned which would, once again, make the BBC inclusive and diverse-friendly.

It's well over a month since I wrote, and I'm still waiting for a reply.

What makes things worse is that over 40 delegates from the BBC went to the 2010 Children's Media Conference, and presumably licence fee payers had to subsidise their attendance, including travel and accommodation in Sheffield.

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