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BBC accused of pro-suicide bias

The BBC has been accused of helping to promote assisted suicide in a TV documentary by Sir Terry Pratchett to be screened on Monday.

In the film, millionaire hotelier and motor neurone disease suffer Peter Smedley, 71, is seen taking a lethal dose of barbiturates at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.

The BBC defended its decision to broadcast the programme, Choosing to Die, on BBC2 on Monday after anti-euthanasia campaigners complained about its portrayal of assisted suicide following an advance screening.

Alistair Thompson, a spokesman for the Care Not Killing Alliance pressure group, said: "This is pro-assisted suicide propaganda loosely dressed up as a documentary."

Mr Thompson accused the BBC of repeatedly giving voice to pro-euthanasia views in both fiction and non-fiction programming but failing to offer the opposite view.

The pressure group claims that this is the fifth programme produced by the BBC in three years presented by a pro-euthanasia campaigner or sympathiser.

Other examples include a BBC Panorama documentary fronted by pro-euthanasia MSP Margo Macdonald and last year's Richard Dimbleby Lecture, in which Sir Terry Pratchett called for the introduction of euthanasia tribunals.

Asked what he thought the reason for this alleged imbalance was, Mr Thompson said euthanasia made for "eye-catching TV".

He said: "Where is the other side of the argument, where are the incredible things disabled people do?"

According to Care Not Killing such portrayals of euthanasia risk creating a "suicide contagion" among the vulnerable.


From Belfast Telegraph