Thursday, November 17, 2011

Surely the main purpose of a news programme ought to be to keep the audience up to date with current events. And Newsround often does that very well, for example with Leah's report on the financial problems in Greece. Her report was intended for kids, but I'm sure Leah also helped a lot of adults understand what's been going on.

Sometimes, though, Newsround is far too slow to respond. The occupation at St Paul's wasn't mentioned until five days after it began. And there's been nothing today about the escalating protests in New York.

Newsround has, for a while now, played down the issue of racism in sport, and has completely failed to acknowledge the existence of homophobia.

The John Terry/Anton Ferdinand racism controversy wasn't mentioned by Newsround until 2nd November - some ten days after the incident. And it took them over a month, until today, for any mention of the Luis Suarez/Patrice Evra controversy.

At 8.15am on CBBC we had:-

Joe: Hi guys. Joe here with all the stories you'll be talking about with your mates at school today. First up - there's been an angry reaction to Sepp Blatter's claim that football doesn't have a problem with racism. During a TV interview, the international footie chief also said he thought racist incidents could be solved between players with a simple handshake. Well Rio Ferdinand says his comments were laughable, but Blatter says he's been misunderstood. Several former players have called for Blatter to resign, but current Premier League striker Jason Roberts wants more done.

Jason Roberts: He can resign - certainly. But if the relevant authorities don't act differently with the issues that are prevalent in football, then I think we will be in danger of telling society that it's not an issue we care about.

And at 5pm:-

Ricky: First tonight. A massive row over .. a handshake. According to the most powerful man in the footballing world, it's the best way to sort out racist abuse on the pitch. But lots of the game's biggest stars are furious with FIFA boss Sepp Blatter. They say they want him to quit, saying his comments send out totally the wrong message.

(video) Ricky: Racism in football is big news right now. England captain John Terry is being investigated for apparently making a racist comment towards QPR's Anton Ferdinand during a match - he denies it. And just last night the FA charged Liverpool star Luis Suarez with racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra. But Suarez says he's innocent. Now famous footballers have been queuing up to slam Sepp Blatter's idea to just shake hands over racist abuse. Rio Ferdinand tweeted the man himself. He said "I am astonished. I feel stupid for thinking that football was taking a leading role against racism." Blackburn's striker Jason Roberts said "I am absolutely disgusted - lost for words. I am absolutely fuming." Strictly Come Dancing star and ex-player Robbie Savage called for his head: "What planet is this guy on. That's a shocking statement from the leader of world football. For me Blatter should go. Blatter out."

Ricky: Strong stuff. And with me on the sofa is former Premier League star Mark Bright. Now Mark, he's saying he's been misquoted. But what do you think about this?

Mark: Well he hasn't been misquoted. I think we all saw the interview and we've heard it as well. He said that during 90 minutes players can say what they want to each other as long as at the end they shake hands and everything's good. That's not the case - you can't racially abuse someone on the football field.

Ricky: So you think he's sending out the wrong message - not just to us but to children too?

Mark: Absolutely. It starts at the top. He's at the top of the pyramid, the head of FIFA, the world governing body. And what he's saying to kids on a Saturday and Sunday morning: You can go out and you can say what you want to the other child while the games going on. But at the end of the game just shake hands. That's not right - no. In this country it's an offence to racially abuse someone on the pitch.

Ricky: And have you ever had any abuse on the pitch?

Mark: Everyone of my era who played had abuse. We had it every other week when we played away from home , from the fans from opponents. And I'm glad to say that all that has nearly been eradicated. We rarely get it from players. The fans are so much better now. And we've all embraced the Kick Racism Out of Football campaign. That's why it's so much better.

Ricky: Alright Mark. Thanks so much for joining us on the sofa today. Thank you for coming in.

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