Friday, February 12, 2016

The BBC and assisted suicide

The BBC, described as a cheerleader for assisted suicide, has again been accused of bias after the broadcast documentary this week of a man taking his own life at a Swiss clinic.

Simon Binner, a British businessman, had motor neurone disease. His wife Debbie was opposed to his taking his own life. "Watching him plan his own death, while I still wanted more time, was overwhelmingly traumatic," she said. "He had rights, but how much of his life was mine?"

The BBC was said to have made last-minute changes to the documentary, How to Die: Simon's Choice, after early copies were released to journalists. Footage of Mr Binner's corpse and scenes involving the drug used were edited after an executive from the Samaritans raised concerns that the BBC might fall foul of guidelines that prevent broadcasters from giving detailed guidance about suicide methods.

Leading blogger Archbishop Cranmer said of the programme: "This wasn't human action morally scrutinised, but political policy advanced emotively. How to Die wasn't so much concerned with how to die as why on earth not? . . .

"When will the BBC sensitively follow a pregnant woman through her BPAS or Marie Stopes counselling? When will they explore the views of her distraught partner as he weeps and longs for a chance to become a father? When will they broadcast the contentious performance and harrowing process of carrying out an abortion, and justify it all to the Guardian on the grounds of it being 'ambitious,' 1compelling,' 'groundbreaking' TV journalism of 'one of the toughest decisions there is to make'? 

"Or is it that changing the law on abortion is simply not on the BBC's political agenda?"

A petition has been organised protesting the BBC's bias and requesting them, in the interests of journalistic responsibility, to air a documentary about someone who is terminally ill and deeply opposes assisted suicide.

You can sign it here 

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