Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Climate change sceptics should get less BBC coverage and be challenged 'more vigorously', says report on science output

Daily Mail

Changes: The BBC's governing body
will rule on an overhaul of its rules on impartiality
in its science output

Opponents of global warming should be given less coverage by the BBC than the climate change lobby, the corporation will rule.

The BBC is set to publish a report tomorrow on its science output announcing changes to rules on impartiality.

Following the overhaul, programme makers and broadcasters will be compelled to give less prominence to those who oppose the scientific community's majority view.

Steven Jones
According to the Daily Telegraph, the report draws heavily on an independent review of BBC coverage by Steve Jones, a professor of genetics at University College London.

Professor Jones is understood to have cleared the BBC of any suggestion of bias in its programming.

But the main conclusion made is that in cases where there is a widely held scientific view, such as on GM crops or the MMR injection, the BBC shouldn't give airtime to critics of the scientific consensus.

A further recommendation of the report is that the BBC should appoint a science editor for its coverage, and should also feature more experts in the field on prgrammes like Question Time.

One BBC executive, who has seen the report, told the Telegraph: 'It is about recognising when the debate has moved on beyond whether a theory is true or not, and on to what we do about it.'

Senior executives at the corporation say climate change is considered a special case because of the weight of political argument it causes.

But they acknowledge that the majority view supports the idea of man-made global warming.

As a result of the review, insiders say that the BBC is likely to challenge groups such as Greenpeace 'more vigorously'.

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