The BBC And The Guardian Biff It Out.
Thanks to Tami for pointing me to this Guardian article, which rightly criticises the appalling editorial decision made by the BBC to entitle a topic as “Should homosexuals face execution?”.
They changed it later, but the damage was done, as the Guardian explains:
“The BBC today asked users of its news website “Should homosexuals face execution?” on a talkboard discussion for a World Service programme for African listeners.
Posted on a BBC News premoderated talkboard, the thread was designed to provoke discussion ahead of the latest edition of interactive World Service programme Africa Have Your Say.
“Yes, we accept it is a stark and disturbing question, but this is the reality behind an anti-homosexuality bill being debated on Friday by the Ugandan parliament which would see some homosexual offences punishable by death,” the post said.
The talkboard post asked users to send in their views to the programme, which goes out on the World Service and is also available online.
“Has Uganda gone too far? Should there be any level of legislation against homosexuality? Should homosexuals be protected by legislation as they are in South Africa? What would be the consequences of this bill to you? How will homosexual ‘offences’ be monitored?,” the post added.
Premoderated posts included one from Chris, Guildford, posted at 8.59am, which attracted 51 recommendations of support. He wrote: “Totally agree. Ought to be imposed in the UK too, asap. Bring back some respectable family values. Why do we have to suffer ‘gay pride’ festivals? Would I be allowed to organise a ‘straight pride’ festival? No, thought as much!! If homosexuality is natural, as we are forced to believe, how can they sustain the species? I suggest all gays are put on a remote island somewhere and left for a generation – after which, theoretically there should be none left!”
Another, from Aaron in Freetown, said: “Bravo to the Ugandans for this wise decision, a bright step in eliminating this menace from your society. We hope other African nations will also follow your bold step.”
The Africa Have Your Say programme aired at 4pm today. By 5.30pm, the headline of the discussion had been changed to “Should Uganda debate gay execution?”. “
Well done the Guardian, and I hope they apply those critical skills to their own work, once in a while.
Update 1: I posted on it before.
Update 2: More:
“MPs have criticised the BBC for hosting an online debate asking whether homosexuals should be executed.
The Labour MP Eric Joyce told the House of Commons that he was completely mystified why the BBC had posted the forum. He said: “We should be looking at what is going on in Uganda with abhorrence. We should be condemning it, and the BBC should be condemning it, just as we do sexual violence in the Congo or genocide in Rwanda or Darfur.”
Peter Bone, the Tory MP for Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, described the situation as extraordinary. “If I hadn’t heard it from [Mr Joyce] I would have doubted it was true,” he said.”
Update 3: There’s something on gopetition too.
Update 4: And one at No. 10.