Wednesday, 10 October 2007

2nd Complaint to Ofcom about Bringing Up Baby, 9th Oct

My previous complaint 26/09/07 Number:1-33437367 refers.
Having expressed my concerns for the wellbeing of infants and their parents above, I now have serious concerns with issues of child protection, child abuse, and child neglect being implemented by mentor Claire Verity. A specific complaint is about the long-term damage to how the brain becomes 'wired', caused by Claire Verity's insistence that the infants' most basic needs, that of food, nurture and care are limited, simply to ensure a good nights sleep.

Your code is sadly lacking in its ability to protect very young babies who appear in factual and reality programmes.
Section 1 - protecting the Under-Eighteens is mostly concerned with protection from what might be viewed. There is little to protect participants.
Section 1
'The involvement of people under eighteen in programmes',
1.26 Due care must be taken over the physical and emotional welfare and the dignity of people under eighteen who take part or are otherwise involved in programmes. This is irrespective of any consent given by the participant or by a parent, guardian or other person over the age of eighteen in loco parentis.
1.27 People under eighteen must not be caused unnecessary distress or anxiety by their involvement in programmes or by the broadcast of those programmes.

These clauses go some way in offering protection for these babies, but I suspect the context in which they appear with 1.28 will make it difficult to apply to my complaint. Your guidance notes Issue 4: 20 March 2007 have NO ADVICE under the heading Rule 1.26 to 1.28, other than a reference to Research: Consenting children: the use of children in non-fiction television programmes (2001) BSC; Consenting adults (2000) BSC

Section 2
To ensure that generally accepted standards are applied to the content of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material.

2.2 'Factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must not materially mislead the audience'
I suggest Bringing Up Baby breaches clause 2.2, particularly in the context of paragraphs 2 and 4 of your guidance notes, Issue 7, 2 August 2007.

Paragraph 2 reads
Nevertheless, Ofcom is required to guard against harmful or offensive material, and it is possible that actual or potential harm and / or offence may be the result of misleading material in relation to the representation of factual issues. This rule is therefore designed to deal with content which materially misleads the audience so as to cause harm or offence.
Paragraph 4 reads
Whether a programme or item is "materially" misleading depends on a number of factors such as the context, the editorial approach taken in the programme, the nature of the misleading material and above all what the potential effect could be or actual harm or offence that has occurred.

Each of the 3 episodes of Bringing Up Baby clearly breach section 2 of your code.

Channel 4 and Silver River Productions' have set out to deceive the public. They claim to have consulted widely with paediatricians, psychologists and others, and have written to reassure myself and others: "I would like to reassure you once again that we take the welfare of children in this series, as with all programmes, very seriously. Bringing Up Baby is a thoughtful and responsible observation of different methods of childcare. " This is not the case and is deliberately misleading. Both companies have not responded to my requests for details of who their advisors are.

There follows a transcript of some of Part 3, broadcast 9th October, annotated by myself:
(Note. The transcript follows on this blog, so I've not repeated it here)


Anonymous said...

I think your complaint of Ofcom is justified - I too was shocked (and very tearful having a baby girl myself)at some of the methods used. Just thought I would show my suport.

Anonymous said...

I followed the 'main ideas' from Gina Ford and I have happy confident children (twins) they sleep well and are rarely over-tired, and we have a stress free household. I thought this programme would 'damn' us mothers who choose routine life but the routine offered by Verity is shocking, never never did I leave my babies, nor were they force fed or ignored. All mothers are different, all babies are different therefore until further notice no single method of child rearing can be deemed 'best'.

Anonymous said...

I am utterly disgusted that we as a society will happily accept to watch a program for entertainment, where the major participants can not possibly give proper consent. These babies have rights too. This reality tv trend has gone too far, and ofcom really needs to take action now.

Anonymous said...

Just noticed Daisy Goodwin has a book out called...Bringing up Baby.

I can't bring myself to buy it as I am so appalled by this programme, but those campaiging against the programme and its makers may find ammunition in it, if it is anything like as ill-informed and ignorant as the show.

mamadillo said...

I'll be keeping an eye here for your responce to ofcom's 'verdict' on Bringing Up Baby.