Thursday, September 19, 2013

BBC assisted suicide bias challenged by the Care Not Killing Alliance

The BBC's responsibility as the national broadcaster to present current affairs in a balanced and unbiased way does not tally with its long track record of presenting assisted suicide and euthanasia in a positive light in all aspects of programming. From news and documentaries to soap, drama and comedy, the corporation has justifiably been called a 'cheerleader for assisted suicide'.

Stephen Hawking
Yesterday (Tuesday), a BBC breakfast interview with cosmologist Prof Stephen Hawking to coincide with the publication of his autobiography was boiled down to 'Stephen Hawking speaks out about assisted suicide', causing sensational headlines around the world.

On the back of this, Lord (Charles) Falconer - a noted advocate whose assisted suicide bill is currently awaiting second reading in the House of Lords - was invited this (Wednesday) morning to make his case for a change in the law, at length and without opposition or balance, on BBC Breakfast at 0820.

If you share our view that this morning's interview represents a glaring, though not isolated, example of biased reporting from the BBC on this issue, please contact them with your concerns. Ask for a reply.
  • Why was the substantial amount of time given to Lord Falconer not used more effectively to air a proper debate, with an opposing viewpoint?
  • Why did the broadcast at no point allow a contrary view to be expressed?
  • Why was it not mentioned that a change in the law is opposed as uncontrollable, unethical and unnecessary by the vast majority of doctors, by major medical organisations including the BMA, the Royal Colleges and the Association for Palliative Medicine and by all major disability rights organisations?
  • Did the broadcast conform to guidelines for media discussion of suicide, such as those of the World Health Organisation, which calls for the media to 'avoid language which sensationalizes or normalizes suicide, or presents it as a solution to problems'?
You should direct any complaints regarding this broadcast to the BBC and also Ofcom.

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