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Beeb coughs to Panorama WiFi-scare travesty

Wrists red raw with self-administered slappings

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The BBC has admitted that the infamous Panorama programme in which Beeb investigators boosted public hysteria regarding health dangers around Wi-Fi in schools was "misleading". The BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) found against Panorama chiefs in a recent ruling.

In essence, the ECU thought it was OK to make the programme in the first place because Sir William Stewart, Chairman of the Health Protection Agency and a distinguished biologist, had expressed concerns about WiFi. (Even though he said himself he had no real reason for doing so.)

However, the Beeb internal watchdog sharply criticised the way the Panorama editors went about their business, giving extensive airtime to three WiFi-fearmonger scientists and featuring only one voice of sanity. This "gave a misleading impression of the state of scientific opinion on the issue".

Adding insult to injury, the WiFi-is-probably-OK-actually savant, Professor Michael Repacholi, "was presented in a context which suggested to viewers that his scientific independence was in question, whereas the other scientists were presented uncritically. This reinforced the misleading impression, and was unfair."

So the Beeb admits that the programme was a travesty. However, it doesn't propose to actually do anything about it - such as firing anyone, for instance. (Even though it is currently firing other, inoffensive news staffers by the hundred.)

However, the Panorama team have had a more-in-sorrow-than-anger "discussion" with the ECU, and may be made to submit to some (hopefully) humiliating training on science/medical reporting.®

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