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Congrats Given to New BBC LGBT Journalist

25/12/2018

The LGBT Conservative Network, known as Gay Conservatives on Twitter have given their warmest wishes to Ben Hunte, who has been appointed at the BBC News Channel’s first correspondent with a specific oversight for LGBT issues.  Despite some predictable negative comments from the usual quarters on Facebook, activists noted that Mr Hunte had been inundated with messages of support from the wider gay and trans communities.  In many ways, this achievement for the BBC is twenty years too late.  In 1994, the Corporation began airing a specialist half an hour magazine programme called “Out This Week” on a Sunday night on BBC Radio Five, which at the time was only available nationally on medium wave.  The hugely successful programme was a response to Channel Four’s magazine show “Out on Tuesday” and Jeremy Joseph’s London based gay show on Spectrum 558, an early community radio operation.  In 1999, the BBC axed the “Out this Week” programme, claiming that instead of a ghetto programme, they would include more gay content in their regular output.  But as many commentators in the gay press correctly predicted, this did not happen.  Over the following decades the BBC made some grand errors in reporting, including the World Service’s bizarre asking of listeners whether gay people should be executed, a low point which was condemned by politicians across the country.  As Peter Tatchell pointed out “Whatever next?  Are the Beeb going to ask whether women in Karachi should be sprayed with acid?” Now, with a specialist correspondent, many are quietly hopeful that fair and honest reporting and representation will take place.  The BBC News Channel broadcasts at Channel 231 on Freeview, plus is available on Virgin, Sky, TalkTalk and BT platforms. 

 

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