Main | Friday, January 22, 2010

BBC Making Amends To Gays

Last month the BBC outraged LGBT people worldwide by placing a debate question on its website asking, "Should homosexuals be executed?" The wording of the question was changed later on the same day and a top official offered a (limp) apology, but many remain furious. Yesterday the network announced a new project dedicated to improving its portrayals of gay people.
The BBC said today that it had set up a working group to look at the issues of audiences and portrayal through surveys with audience groups and online. Tim Davie, the director of BBC audio and music and the chair of the new group, said that this would include qualitative and quantitative surveys with all audience groups, including heterosexuals and faith groups. He said: "It's important that we talk to both more accepting and less tolerant audiences." The research, which is the first the BBC has undertaken in this area, is expected to be published in the summer. It will look at humour, stereotyping, language and tone and BBC executives said it would be distributed to all programme-makers. Davie said the research had not been commissioned in the wake of the disastrous Ugandan 'gay execution' debate, telling a press briefing this morning that the idea had already been in planning.
The project surveys do not include questions about transgender people, an issue a spokesperson said the BBC may tackle separately.

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