Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CONTROVERSY: BBC hosts debate asking "Should homosexuals face execution?"

British politicians today condemned the BBC for hosting an online debate asking: "Should homosexuals face execution?"

UK Herald Sun reports:
The debate on the government-owned broadcaster's Have Your Say Web site has now closed, and the title was changed to "Should Uganda debate gay execution?" after it provoked uproar online. It was in response to a proposed bill in Uganda that could lead to the death penalty for gay people.

On his blog Labour Member of Parliament Eric Joyce said: "What's happened here, I think, is that the BBC has attempted to tap into the Ugandan zeitgeist, if you will, and reflect the sort of discussions going on in Kampala." He said: "Is the BBC really there to provide credibility to a vile discussion around a profoundly hideous and savage piece of legislation?"

The BBC, in its Editor's Blog, defended its decision to host the debate."The editors of the BBC Africa Have Your Say program thought long and hard about using this question which prompted a lot of internal debate," the post said. "We agree that it is a stark and challenging question, but think that it accurately focuses on and illustrates the real issue at stake."

BBC defends debate on gay executions in Uganda

UK Pink News reports:
BBC editors have defended allowing online readers to debate whether gays in Uganda should be executed, saying they accepted it was a "challenging question". The discussion, on the broadcaster's Have Your Say feature, asked: "Should homosexuals face execution?"

The debate centres on Uganda, where an anti-gay bill is passing through parliament. It would impose execution or life imprisonment on gays, its sponsor David Bahati MP says. Some commentators on the site, from both the UK and Africa, had agreed with the country's proposed law. It was closed at around 4pm this afternoon after provoking a storm of anger on Twitter.

A number of readers emailed to complain that the question was offensive, arguing that readers would not be asked to debate the extermination of Jews in World War II. READ MORE