MP says BBC’s assisted suicide reporting is ‘totalitarian’

The chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group has likened the BBC’s biased reporting of assisted suicide to “the practices of a totalitarian state”.

Writing in the Catholic Herald earlier this month, Jim Dobbin MP said public debate should not be “subverted by slanted reporting”.

And he said the BBC’s reporting of assisted suicide is reminiscent of attempts to “control debate and manipulate opinion”.


The BBC has produced five pro-assisted suicide programmes in three years, with the latest fronted by pro-assisted suicide campaigner Sir Terry Pratchett.

The programme, Choosing to Die, was heavily promoted with front page coverage in the BBC-owned Radio Times.

Earlier this month, in an Early Day Motion (EDM) proposed by Mr Dobbin, MPs expressed their dismay at what critics have called the BBC’s “cheerleading” of assisted suicide.


Commenting on the move, Mr Dobbin said: “Those media outlets that are funded by public contributions have a particular duty to present both sides of a contentious moral issue.”

Mr Dobbin accused the BBC of failing to report an important vote by the British Medical Association to oppose any change in the law.

He accused the BBC of ignoring its own guidelines on impartiality and also of disregarding the World Health Organisation’s guidelines, which state that publicity about suicides in the media is one of the many factors that may lead a vulnerable individual to commit suicide.

“Orchestrated campaign”

Following the broadcast of Terry Pratchett’s documentary last month, senior Peers wrote to the BBC, accusing it of running an “orchestrated campaign” to change the law on assisted suicide.

The Corporation has since received hundreds of complaints about the programme.

Peter Saunders, from the Care Not Killing Alliance, warned that the programme “breached just about all the international and national guidelines on portrayal of suicide by the media” and said the Alliance was “very worried about the danger of copycat suicide or suicide contagion”.

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