Thursday, November 11, 2010

A few years ago Newsround promised to participate in Takeover Day, but it all fell through and they haven't even mentioned the annual event since then. Well there's another chance tomorrow because it will be Takeover Day 2010. So CBBC ought, by rights, help empower kids by letting them take control of Newsround, deciding what news stories are covered and fronting the programme itself.

Next Monday 15 November is the start of Anti-Bullying Week and Newsround Blog hopes that CBBC includes something to help prevent homophobic bullying. So far it's a form of bullying which Newsround has avoided talking about. But experts believe that it won't be reduced unless and until the problem of homophobia is tackled head-on (see blog on 20 October 2010, and the YouTube video mentioned in that blog)

Over the last few weeks Newsround has asked celebrities to look back at their lives as 10-year-olds and reveal, amongst other things, if they fancied anyone at school. But gay celebrities are treated in a very different way. Suddenly CBBC doesn't want to know anything about who they fancied at school or even who they fancy as grown-ups. When LGBT people are treated as outsiders on BBC children's TV it's no wonder they're seen as a target for school bullies.

Remember last year Newsround made a film about bullying - it was called Whose side are you on? - and centred around the concept that if you just stand and watch as your friend gets bullied rather than doing something to help her or him, then you're on the same side as the bullies themselves.

So let's see if anything changes this year. Will Newsround mention homophobic bullying or will it once again show that it is, in effect, on the side of the bullies?

One BBC drama is worth mentioning. It faces up to issues which CBBC fails to do. Jamie attends a faith school and gets bullied daily. He doesn't tell his family about the bullying, which has become so bad that one day Jamie tries to commit suicide. Moving On - Losing My Religion is available on the BBC iPlayer till the end of Anti-Bullying Week.

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