BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
JIM DOBBIN,the Labour MP for Heywood and Middleton, is leading a group of Parliamentarians who are calling for a full inquiry into alleged BBC bias in favour of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Mr Dobbin has written to Lord Patten, who chairs the BBC Trust and to Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC urging them, “not to delay in establishing an inquiry at the highest level” given that the corporation’s Royal Charter requires it to take an “impartial stand on all issues of public policy”.
Mr Dobbin, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary ProLife Group, wrote in the letter: “We know that you are both men of the highest honour – but whatever your intentions, we know from experience that the BBC is riddled with men and women determined to promote abortion and euthanasia.
“We are determined, however, to do everything we can to ensure that an inquiry at the highest level is established.” Mr Dobbin is the primary sponsor of an Early Day Motion tabled in order to alert the Government to alleged BBC bias, which is gathering support from other MPs. The motion claims there is a “strong campaign waged by the BBC network” to propagate euthanasia, noting that in the last three years five pro grammes have been broadcast in favour of changing the law while none have been aired which examine the other side of the argument.
The MPs concerned note, for example, that while the BBC gave airtime to euthanasia campaigner Sir Terry Pratchett, the publicly funded corporation gave no coverage to the criticism of Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Commission by the British Medical Association.
In a separate letter sent to Lord Patten last week Lord Alton of Liverpool reminded him that the BMA conference was told by its deputy chairman that “assisting patients to die prematurely is not part of the moral ethos or the primary goal of medicine. If the legislation were to be changed, it would have serious negative consequences on the relationship between doctors and their patients”.
Lord Alton added: “Given the wall-to-wall coverage given to Mr Pratchett et al we were therefore surprised to see no reference to the BMA’s motion or votes on any BBC news coverage. If the Corporation’s rationale for broadcasting the documentary equivalent of ‘snuff’ movies is ‘public interest’ might the public not also have been interested to learn the views expressed by their doctors?”
Jim Dobbin: Page 9