Monday, December 29, 2014

Complaints closed at stage 1b and complainants subject to the Expedited Complaints Procedure

That's the title of a recently produced document now available for download on the BBC Trust website. It appears from the BBC's lack of publicity they are ashamed of the document's contents - and with very good reason, as you can see in this extract from the opening paragraph:

".. new procedures put in place the right for the BBC to end correspondence on trivial, misconceived, hypothetical, repetitious or otherwise vexatious complaints .."

What exactly is a "misconceived" complaint? Apparently that is something decided by the BBC. So what, in effect, has happened here is that the BBC has set itself up as a arbiter of what is right and what is wrong - and the public just have to accept their ruling.

Last year Graham Norton wore a ribbon to raise awareness of World AIDS Day. The BBC's Deputy Director of Television, Mark Linsey, ordered Graham not to wear the ribbon again, and the BBC subsequently received thousands of complaints about the ban. Nevertheless, the BBC presumably decided that those complaints fell into one of the above categories, and the Trust has not looked into the issue. Nor, it seems are they happy to discuss it further.

The BBC Trust's document ends with a list of "expedited" complainants. Correspondence from "expedited" complainants must, according to the BBC, be read but not acknowledged.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hogwarts, according to J.K. Rowling, is a safe place for LGBT students. In a pointed allusion to her Harry Potter books, Ms Rowling said no one should live in a closet.

Author Jeff Kinney has been answering questions about his Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Nine-year-old Emma won a competition and was given the opportunity to interview Mr Kinney. She asked Jeff what inspired his 'Wimpy Kid' books -

Jeff Kinney: My own childhood was the inspiration, and continues to be the inspiration for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. I think that so many funny things happen to all of us. If you just thought about your day today, I bet you could find five things that would end up in a wimpy-kid-like book. ...

Jeff Kinney has also answered questions for CBBC Newsround. So far, though, he's not been asked much about diversity. Apart from in tweets by Newsround Blog, which weren't responded to.

Wimpy Kid's protagonist, Greg Heffley, has a crush on Holly Hills - so presumably he's not gay. Seems Jeff Kinney has wimped out of including any lesbian or gay characters in his books. That's unfortunate because Jeff's not yet made a stand on behalf of kids who don't want to live their whole lives in a closet.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Many important news stories don't get reported by Newsround, or they get reported a long time afterwards. The siege in Sydney is one story which hasn't yet been reported, though of course it did get a lot of coverage on the main TV news channels.

Katrina Dawson, 38, and cafe manager Tori Johnson, 34, both died as heroes.

Katrina Dawson, who was married to Paul Smith, with three children, is reported to have shielded a pregnant friend and colleague Julie Taylor, whom she had been meeting for a coffee.

Tori Johnson was killed as he attempted to wrest the gun from the hostage-taker.

As a gay man living in Australia Tori Johnson was, in effect, a second class citizen without the right to marry afforded to other people in that country. His life partner, who isn't mentioned in this BBC news webpage, was Thomas Zinn. They'd been together for 14 years.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Mario Balotelli's recent controversial tweet was reported by Newsround.

Yesterday BBC's Director of Television, Danny Cohen, said the footballer should be sanctioned. Some suggested the same should apply to Jeremy Clarkson, but Mr Cohen failed to answer that point. He was also asked about the suitability of broadcasting ".. get out, you're not welcome here, you're gay" on children's TV. So far he's failed to answer that question too. But he has been pretty busy defending the BBC and its licence fee.

BBC Director General: ".. we should own up to things we don't get right"