Sunday, March 10, 2013

You'll recall that, last year, the BBC allowed itself to be used as a mouthpiece for the Catholic Church, culminating on Christmas Day with the Corporation giving Vincent Nichols privileged access to a series of TV news bulletins. Furthermore one of their journalists - BBC Religious Affairs Correspondent, Robert Pigott - fronted what seems to have been a most disgraceful attempt to mislead viewers.

Perhaps as recognition that they'd gone too far, last week a prominent journalist and equality campaigner, Benjamin Cohen, was allowed to put the case for treating LGBT people more humanely. He was speaking on last Wednesday's edition of Lent Talks. Benjamin said he'd been contacted by many whose families have abandoned them. Some religious groups felt that the BBC had sunk to a new low - they were very unhappy about hearing the plight of Christ compared to that of young gay people who fear being disowned by their friends and family.

Benjamin Cohen: Some parents give them an ultimatum: to ignore their feelings, or even undergo controversial reparative therapies to try to turn themselves straight. Shockingly, every year, hundreds of people, mainly teenagers, kill themselves because of their family or society's rejection of them due to their sexuality. In many cases the reason for this rejection is religion - something that really angers me and upsets me.

Despite the torment some lesbian and gay kids go through on account of their religious upbringing, it is certain that Newsround will soon be giving over even more airtime to uncritical reports about the Catholic Church, and that it will big up the next pope, whoever he may be. Compare that with almost zero empathy for gay kids. The programme, for instance, completely ignored President Obama's support for marriage equality, and what he said about gay people in this year's Inauguration speech.

Another example - on 15th January 2013, Newsround reported on the outcome of two discrimination cases at the ECHR, there was not a single word said about the other two extremely important rulings that Christians can not use their beliefs as a ground to discriminate against gay people. We can clearly see whose side BBC Children's is on.

Newsround report about FOUR discrimination cases (4th September 2012)

The stunning hypocrisy of Cardinal Keith O'Brien and his ilk is, unfortunately, not so far removed from what we've come to expect of those responsible for children's TV - see last Sunday's blog. I may, at some future date, publish a more complete version of the email referenced in that blog, but with redactions as appropriate.

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