Sunday, January 05, 2014

Nelson Mandela believed that the character of a society could be judged by the way it treats its children. So how will Britain's main public service broadcaster measure up in 2014?

According to ChildWise, in 2013, more children aged 5-16 watched BBC than CBBC, and the most watched programme amongst that age group was EastEnders. One of the main EastEnders storylines over the Christmas/New Year holiday period dealt with Johnny Carter coming out as gay. To date the story has been reasonably sensitively handled. But, as always with the BBC, that is no guarantee of things to come. In fact EastEnders has been responsible for some incredibly nasty storylines involving LGBT characters.

Bearing in mind the almost total absence of lesbian and gay teen characters on BBC Children's, the Corporation has an even higher duty to ensure that minority is portrayed fairly. Equally important, however, is the need to correct the shortfall. Time will tell. Surveys indicate there are around two people in the UK who don't identify as white for every one person who doesn't identify as heterosexual - 13% and 6.5% respectively. (Office for National Statistics) ... diverse portrayal on BBC Children’s is critically important (pdf). The BBC cite examples of diversity within Newsround's reporting team, as well as a few other CBBC programmes.

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