Backlash at BBC for giving platform to anti-vaxxers

Backlash at BBC for giving platform to anti-vaxxers

January 24, 2022

Backlash at BBC for giving platform to anti-vaxxers: Question Time calls for people who refuse Covid jab to join audience

  • The BBC was slammed for asking people who are not jabbed to sit in an audience
  • Fiona Bruce asked them to get in touch during a show from St Andrews last week
  • She said there was ‘relatively high proportion’ in London who weren’t vaccinated
  • The presenter said that the Corporation ‘wanted to explore’ some of the reasons’

The BBC has been blasted for planning to air ‘dangerous nonsense’ after calling for anti-vaxxers to appear on Question Time.

The Corporation was slammed for asking people who have not been jabbed to sit in the audience when the show visits London.

Presenter Fiona Bruce appealed for them to get in touch during the show from St Andrews last week.

She said a ‘relatively high proportion’ of Londoners were not vaccinated and ‘we want to explore’ some of the reasons why.

But social media users quickly condemned her and the BBC for planning to air ‘irresponsible’ views.

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.’

Another 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.’

One man posted: ‘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.’

And another added on his Twitter page: ‘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).’

Others said the anti-vaxxers who attend would also be at risk of catching coronavirus in the aurdience.

A woman said online: ‘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 put: ‘What steps will you be taking to segregate these people from those who have no wish to be infected with a potentially deadly virus?’

And one more added: ‘Are you planning a large indoor gathering of unvaccinated people and if so, where is the risk assessment?’

‘How will you ensure balance, ie that the programme doesn’t give undue weight to fringe views?’

Ms Bruce had called for people to come forward for their London show on February 3 as she appeared in St Andrews last week.

She said: ‘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.’

The video was shared on the Question Times social media page with a link showing how to apply.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘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.’

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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