Media timidity as BBC accused of cowardice re warming show

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    Martin W

      From BBC website:

      The BBC has scrapped plans for Planet Relief, a TV special on climate change, the BBC News website has learned.

      The decision comes after some senior executives expressed concern that the programme concept might breach impartiality guidelines.

      Environmental campaigners slammed the decision as “cowardice”.

      “This decision shows a real poverty of understanding among senior BBC executives about the gravity of the situation we face,” said activist and writer Mark Lynas.

      “The only reason why this became an issue is that there is a small but vociferous group of climate ‘sceptics’ lobbying against taking action, so the BBC is behaving like a coward and refusing to take a more consistent stance.”

      The Planet Relief concept originated about 18 months ago, and was tentatively scheduled for broadcast in January 2008. It was seen as a climate change counterpart to programmes such as Live8 which sought to raise awareness of global poverty.

      Planet Relief was modelled on anti-poverty events such as Live8
      But against the backdrop of intense internal debates about impartiality, senior news editors expressed misgivings that Planet Relief was too “campaigning” in nature and would have left the Corporation open to the charge of bias.

      “It is absolutely not the BBC’s job to save the planet,” warned Newsnight editor Peter Barron at the Edinburgh Festival last month.

      Head of TV news Peter Horrocks, writing in the BBC News website’s editors’ blog, commented: “It is not the BBC’s job to lead opinion or proselytise on this or any other subject.”

      BBC switches off climate special
      As I’ve just emailed to a friend:
      Bit like we’re all in a building that’s evidently on fire, and owner of public address system says it’s not their responsibility to advise people that action is evidently required!

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