Wednesday, July 11, 2012

After many years of systematic dumbing down children's TV, it looks like BBC senior management has finally woken up to the potential consequences. Speaking at the Stonewall Education for All conference last Thursday, Director-General, Mark Thompson, acknowledged that the Corporation was in danger of seeming to be out of touch or irrelevant. (see previous blog)

The DG identified 'gay marriage' as a topic which needs to be addressed on services for young people. Newsround has never reported on homophobia and discrimination issues which affect gay people.

Mark Thompson said the BBC's commitment to portray lesbian, gay and bisexual life in this country was not an afterthought, but a central concern.

But even as the BBC Director-General was speaking, another conference was underway in Sheffield - the Children's Media Conference 2012. And amongst the delegates was Joe Godwin, the BBC's Director of children's services. He seems to be well on target for achieving a record number of worldwide media conference attendances.

CBBC and CBeebies are listed as Children's Media Conference Foundation Sponsors. Most of the sessions, as usual for media events, were devoted to business opportunities and networking rather than ideological and ethical issues around programme making.

The important topic of child safety was discussed, and Professor Jackie Marsh, Head of the University of Sheffield School of Education, talked about complexities around 'sexualisation,' and the lack of attention to issues such as homophobia and violence against girls. Hopefully session time will be allocated to these topics at media conferences in future.

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