Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saturday's MOTD Kickabout included this supposedly funny item on the January transfer window. If the BBC News channel asked Michael McIntyre or Rhod Gilbert to read the news or present sports, I'd expect quite a lot of the audience to complain that it's difficult to take the channel seriously. So why is it okay to have a comedian presenting programmes for a children's audience?

Perhaps CBBC should stop treating people in such a juvenile way.

Instead of this time wasting, factual programmes should deal with real issues. For example, the fact the police have charged John Terry in connection with an allegation of racial abuse has never been reported by either Newsround or MOTD Kickabout. The jeering directed towards Patrice Evra yesterday was also ignored by Newsround.

On the plus side, CBBC has gone some way to make up for the axing of Sportsround. A new programme - Ultimate Sports Day - began yesterday. It is presented by Ore Oduba.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The first series of Sadie J began about a year ago. Some viewers assumed that Kit was gay, but there was no proof for that assumption - it was based on stereotyping: Kit's mannerisms, interests, beauty products, fashion sense etc. succeeded in promoting that perception.

In this new series of Sadie J, as in Series 1, it's clear that Sadie still fancies boys, and now we will see Sadie has a crush on new boy Taylor Bell.

Will this second series take LGBT diversity any more seriously? The omens are not good.

LGBT History Month begins next Wednesday.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Just when you thought gay teenager Ben Mitchell couldn't get any worse, the BBC proves you wrong. Seems the person who suggested there could still be hope for Ben Mitchell's redemption was mistaken - according to The Sun he will turn cold-blooded killer in a shock new EastEnders plot.

The commentator mentioned that EastEnders' executive producer is gay. I'm not sure why that is important. Too often, those in media and showbiz circles are more interested in their own self-advancement rather than the welfare of others.

The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner believes TV programmes, especially programmes watched by the young, should help promote positive images of LGBT people. But a quick glance at some of the Twitter comments last week demonstrates just how much hatred gay teen Ben Mitchell elicits.

With a dearth of role models on BBC TV, is it any wonder that homophobic bullying is so prevalent is UK schools?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Three men were convicted yesterday of stirring up hatred against gay people. The news wasn't reported on Newsround, but it did make it to the BBC's national News at Six, though not to the BBC News at Ten:-

News at Six - Friday 20th January 2012

Mishal Husain: In the first prosecution of its kind, three men who handed out leaflets calling for gay people to face the death penalty have been convicted. Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed, were found guilty in a court in Derby of trying to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Chris Buckler reports.

The leaflets - which were entitled "Death Penalty?" - were distributed in July 2010. Perhaps the inspiration for them was the BBC website which, in December 2009, asked the public a similar question: "Should homosexuals face execution?"

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Good Childhood Report 2012

Last week The Good Childhood Report 2012 was published - the result of many years joint study into the well-being of young people by The Children's Society and the University of York. Newsround mentioned this on Thursday morning, and they asked kids for feedback on what made them happy and unhappy.

The Good Childhood report has a section on bullying. The Report states: ... the issue of bullying was tremendously important to children, and this importance is confirmed by our survey data. In 2008, we asked children how often they had been bullied in the past 12 months and .... we found a strong relationship between responses to this question and overall well-being. In fact, this single question had as much power to explain variations in well-being as all the individual and family characteristics included in the survey combined.

The survey found that around 19% of children in primary school (years 4 and 6) had been bullied more than three times in the previous three months compared to around 9% of those in secondary school (years 8 and 10). Half a million children in the UK could be unhappy.

Just two weeks to LGBT History Month, which is highlighting sport in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Are foodbanks and charities the answer to child poverty? Yes they are. Or so it may have seemed to anyone watching Newsround on Tuesday.

Hayley spoke to two families affected by poverty. In the studio, Graham Whitham, from the End Child Poverty coalition, talked about the problems for some families, and summed up by saying there are lots of charities up and down the country helping people who are struggling to get by.

Newsround ended the story with a reply from the Government:

Leah: The BBC has spoken to the Government about the problem and they've said they are trying their best to tackle child poverty in Britain. Ore's got more details.

Ore: Yeah that's right, Leah. So they've promised to help those families who are struggling, by cutting or freezing some taxes and giving them more free childcare. They also say changes they're making to the benefits system will mean 3 million households will soon be better off. ...

Unfortunately Newsround did not report the views of the Office of the Children's Commissioner, nor those of the Children's Society regarding changes to the welfare system.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Prejudice has been much in the news over the last few months, though Newsround is often late in reporting controversial stories. So far there's been no mention that John Terry is to be prosecuted for racism, and the Stephen Lawrence murder trial wasn't covered on Newsround until this morning.

The BBC itself would obviously clamp down against any staff using racist abuse. I'm pleased to say that the Corporation appears to oppose homophobic language as well. On 11 December 2011 I referred to two BBC employees who used the term 'pansy' on the Internet. The people concerned, who are both well known for their interest in sports, have now deleted those tweets.