Kudos to the BBC for making several programmes in the last few weeks that covered areas that had previously been neglected or avoided.
- This story, based on an issue of Radio 4’s Crossing Continents, is about how a young Malaysian woman who has converted from Islam to Christianity is threatened with violence by Muslim fanatics.
- This BBC investigation looked into sexual abuse of children by UN peacekeepers.
- Almost from the day that the BBC did a hidden camera exposé of the BNP, commenters to the BBC website asked why the BBC did not do a hidden camera exposé of radical Muslim groups. The joint Newsnight / File On 4 documentary in November did just that. (Full transcript here.)
- I also approved of this story: Study backs Libya HIV case medics.When plague struck medieval Europe, an uneducated and fearful populace, unable to believe that the catastrophe could have a natural origin, would frequently blame the plague on the deliberate action of foreigners or infidels and launch a pogrom against the Jews. This pattern of behaviour has been followed in many other times and places. A modern example occured in Libya in 1999. In this case the victims were five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor. They were accused of deliberately infecting 400 Libyan children with AIDS and, after confessions were extorted by torture, condemned to death in 2004.I approved of this BBC story because, although it maintained the editorially distant style proper to the BBC, it did not imperil the lives of these victims of hysteria by hedging or showing “balance” between the firemen and the fire. That is how you deal with irrational conspiracy theories. Contrast it with the pandering to the Nigerian conspiracy theory alleging that Westerners had contaminated polio vaccine displayed by the BBC here. Contrast it with the active assistance the BBC gave to spreading an anti-American conspiracy theory about tsunami of December 26, 2004. (More about that here.)I bring the polio and tsunami stories up fairly often, because I think they are the two most harmful examples of BBC bias I have ever come across. There are certainly Nigerian children dead or crippled by polio because the BBC was reluctant to offend some of its Muslim readers. As for the tsunami story, our regular pro-BBC commenter, “John Reith” has said that the BBC’s asking its readers “Is America a power for good or ill in the world? Was there a malign hand at work, or has America’s role in the crisis in fact been a model of humanitarian leadership.” …was actually the BBC squelching the conspiracy theory.
No. That is what the BBC squelching a conspiracy theory looks like.
There has been mounting international pressure on Libya to hear independent scientific evidence.
International experts say the scientific report used in the trial was nothing but ‘conjecture’ and ‘supposition’.
Note the absence of a “Have Your Say” forum asking readers whether these Bulgarians and this Palestinian might reallyhave been agents of enemy intelligence services seeking to undermine the Libyan nation by killing its children after all.
As I’ve said before, never mind the name of this blog, there are times when the BBC has a duty to come down on one side and not the other.