Health

BBC Question Time face furious backlash over anti-vaxxer appeal


THE BBC is facing furious backlash over calls for anti-vaxxers to appear on their Question Time debate programme.

She told viewers: “I mentioned last week that we are looking for people to come and be part of our audience who are unvaccinated.

“We know that there’s a relatively high proportion in London and there are many reasons why people have chosen not to get the vaccine. We want to explore some of those issues.

“So if you are someone who made that decision not to get vaccinated we would very much like to hear from you. I think it is an important debate.”

 

BBC Question Time tweeted a clip of Bruce’s appeal to the unvaccinated with the programme saying it wanted to hear from people in this position to appear when the show is filmed from London on February 3.

It also tweeted a link about how to apply to be in the audience.

But the call has been met with an angry reaction with social media users asking the corporation why a group of people who promote misinformation should be given a BBC platform.

Others asked what risk assessment would be given to those in the audience and on the panel who had been vaccinated.

The BBC have since responded saying they “strive to discuss each side of the argument” and the “safety of our audience and panellists is paramount”, pointing out that nothing has changed in terms of their audience requirements.

The initial tweet from the BBC has been re-shared more than 1400 times with viewers hitting out at the “irresponsible” decision.

HeraldScotland:

One user wrote: “This is dangerous nonsense. I can remember when the BBC would not have been so irresponsible, so populist or so overtly political. I knew two people who died from Covid and 10 others who have had it. Two of them had it twice.”

Sam Bright tweeted: “Putting anti-vaxxers on a ‘debate’ programme implicitly suggests they have a legitimate point of view – even if everyone else disagrees with them. You have a massive duty to properly frame the boundaries of acceptable public debate and you’re still massively failing.”

Twitter user Andrew Macdonald wrote: “This makes little sense. Unless you are going to correct any anti vaccine comments with the facts and include a proportionate number of the vaccinated in the audience then this stunt should be reconsidered @BBCPolitics you are sinking lower and lower.”

Robert Reed tweeted: “This is why Question Time is past its sell by date. How can people debate with Anti Vaxxers – there is no common ground, it just a conspiracy that is really causing the UK to slip behind much of the EU in vaccine take up (despite media and parliament cover up).”

READ MORE: Anti-vax mob storm Glasgow shopping centre and ‘intimidate’ staff

Others pointed to the risks to other people in the audience from unvaccinated guests invited on.

Samantha Flander wrote: “So the panel, host and the rest of the audience will be exposed to unvaccinated people indoors, in a studio, for a couple of hours?”

Another pointed out: “What steps will you be taking to segregate these people from those who have no wish to be infected with a potentially deadly virus?”

Laura Thomason tweeted: “1) Are you planning a large indoor gathering of unvaccinated people and if so, where is the risk assessment?
“2) How will you ensure balance, ie that the programme doesn’t give undue weight to fringe views?”

A BBC spokesperson told indy100: “There are still substantial numbers of the British public who are not vaccinated, especially in particular areas and communities. We think this is an interesting part of the debate which is worthy of discussion.

“Question Time always strives to discuss each side of every argument. This is about listening to, and understanding, our audience members. The BBC has always made the scientific consensus on vaccination very clear.”

On the matter of safety, they added: “The safety of our audience and panellists is paramount and nothing has changed in terms of our audience requirements.

“We ask all audience members to provide either proof of full vaccination, evidence of a negative LFT, or proof of recent recovery from Covid.

“The audience seating arrangements are socially distanced, we ensure there is good ventilation in our venues and we ask audience members to wear a mask when not speaking.”





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