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BBC 'Suicide' programme one-sided

The BBC is facing a storm of controversy after it aired Sir Terry Pratchett’s “very unbalanced” documentary on assisted suicide last night.

by the Christian Institute

Terry PratchettThe BBC has received hundreds of complaints about the programme, Choosing to Die, which went out on BBC2 at 9pm.

And critics, including the Bishop of Exeter, spoke out against the programme amid an accusation that it was “one-sided”.


The Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Revd Michael Langrish, said: “I want to see much more emphasis put on supporting people in living, than assisting them in dying.”

He also added that the law in Britain “remains clear and is there to protect the vulnerable”.

Peter Saunders, from the Care Not Killing Alliance warned: “We felt the programme was very unbalanced and one-sided and did not put the counter-arguments.”

He also cautioned 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”.


Liz Carr, a disability campaigner, said: “I, and many other disabled older and terminally ill people, are quite fearful of what legalising assisted suicide would do and mean”.

The programme showed Sir Terry Pratchett following Peter Smedley, a motor neurone disease sufferer, to a Swiss suicide clinic.

Reviewing the programme in The Guardian newspaper, Sam Wollaston described the clinic, which is operated by Dignitas, as: “Not a lovely chalet in the mountains, with meadows and edelweiss and the sound of cowbells, as you might hope for; but a strange blue prefab on a Zurich industrial site.”

Writing in The Herald newspaper, reviewer Mark Smith hit out at Dignitas saying: “I couldn’t help my shock at times and I have to admit my anger: Sign here please and we will kill you.”


The BBC denied it was biased on the issue and a spokesman said the programme was “giving people the chance to make their own minds up on the issue”.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The Government believes that any change to the law in this emotive and contentious area is an issue of individual conscience and a matter for Parliament to decide rather than Government policy.”

The Editor, 15/06/2011

J.Quinn (Guest) 23/06/2011 21:45
When the Abortion Act 1967 was being debated, we were told that it would be very limited in its application. We should all be very well aware of what has happened since that time and that what we now have is abortion virtually on demand. The same thing will happen should assisted suicide be legalised, regardless of the effort of the finest minds to try and convince us otherwise. Eventually, and probably sooner rather than later, the elderly and infirm will be selected for death as a result of intimidation, coercion, fear of being burdensome and even deliberate misinterpretation of the law, with some being selected on the basis that they are unfit or unable to make the choice for themselves.
People who need our care are there for that very purpose, to test us in love. We are deceived if we have been persuaded that the unnatural ending of life in order to alleviate suffering is a caring act. To truly care is to do all in our power to relieve that suffering.
Should assisted suicide become law then it will provide the means for a subtle reintroduction of capital punishment. It will further provide the means whereby those infants who have evaded the screening for disabilities can be eliminated when they are born with so called defects.
I am further concerned that there is a significant economical hidden agenda surrounding this matter.
The proposer(s) and supporters of assisted suicide will be greatly satisfied if a Bill of this nature becomes law in any shape or form because they will be only too aware that it will eventually be amended to suit their aim of death on demand.
In conclusion, it is impossible to safeguard and guarantee the rights of those who are vulnerable in attempting to enshrine in law, the so called rights of some persons to kill themselves, or be assisted in such action, and who it must be stressed, are a tiny minority compared with those who are not in favour of such a provision.

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