Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sometimes things move rather slowly at the BBC. For instance, remember my doubts about the accuracy of Newsround's report on the Government Spending Review? Well, I'm still waiting to hear back on that matter.

Newsround hasn't yet said anything about David Cameron's message of support to young people. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister also recorded a video for Anti-Bullying Week. He points out that it's when people are young that prejudice such as homophobia can take root.
YouTube video removed 11 Dec 2010
The Deputy Prime Minister: Right now there are simply too many children growing up thinking that 'gay' is an insult.

Newsround became news itself when the press picked up on something Mark Sedwill told Sonali about the safety of kids in Afghanistan. Newsround dealt with it yesterday at 5pm:-

Sonali: .. we're going to talk about what it's like growing up in a war zone. Over the years here on Newsround we've told you how British troops are fighting in Afghanistan trying to make the country a safer place.

Ore: But what's it like being a child there, trying to get on with life with the violence around you?

Sonali: A few weeks ago I travelled to Afghanistan to find out. While I was there I met loads of kids. Here's what some of them told me about what it's like growing up in the capital city, Kabul.

[film of Afghani kids speaking to Sonali]

Ore: Forty-eight different forces from around the world are involved in trying to bring about peace in Afghanistan, but it is going to take a really long time.

Sonali: While I was out there I went to the foreign forces HQ in Kabul, ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) to find out why the country is still such a dangerous place to live in

[film with Sonali & Mark Sedwill] - Sonali: Kids I've spoken to say they do sometimes feel unsafe. Their parents won't let them out in case a bomb goes off here.

Mark Sedwill: Here in Kabul, and in the other big cities, actually there are very few of those bombs. The children are probably safer here than they would be in London or New York or Glasgow or many other cities. Most children can go about their lives in safety. It's a very family-oriented society. So its a little bit like a city of villages. Now winning doesn't mean a big victory parade in a place like this. What it means is, that we bring peace and security to the people here .. [film ends]

Ore: Well today Mark Sedwill said he meant that security has improved in Kabul, and that it's safer than many other parts of Afghanistan. And now with us on the sofa is Hannah Reichardt from Save the Children. [turns to Hannah]: Hannah, can you compare London and Glasgow with Kabul?

Hannah Reichardt: We don't think the comparison's particularly helpful. But what we know is that Afghanistan is the worst place in the world for a child to grow up. One in four children who are born in Afghanistan won't live to see their fifth birthday. And they're dying from preventable diseases like diarrhoea and lack of food.

Sonali: So kids don't only have to worry about security, but there are so many other things because Afghanistan is so poor.

Hannah: Exactly. Seven million children are out of school, which is a horrific number. All of these children who are suffering in Afghanistan live in families that don't have enough money. That don't have jobs and the means to support themselves. Lots of children don't have enough to eat, which leads to long-term stunting. Which means they'll never reach their full potential in life.

Ore: But the troops have been there for quite a long time. Have things improved for kids in Afghanistan?

Hannah: In parts of Afghanistan things have improved. But in other ways life has got a lot tougher. For some children access to school is actually harder now than it was. And access to healthcare, just basic things like being able to see a doctor when you're sick.

Ore: Hannah thank you very much for coming in.

Sonali: Thank you. And don't forget you can watch our special film from Afghanistan tonight. It's called 'Growing Up in a War Zone' and starts at 6.15 over on the CBBC Channel.

*Edit note (11 December 2010): The YouTube video of Nick Clegg has been removed because Nick broke a pledge to his constituents by not voting against an increase to university tuition fees. Also see this news item.

No comments: