BBC investigates science coverage 'bias'

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Dammit, you've sussed us - science writers are all in the pocket of a massive global warming conspiracy. But at least you're going for the big targets first.

After complaints that the venerable BBC is not as impartial as it makes out, the corporation is to carry out a review into allegations of bias in its science coverage.

Late last year, a broadcaster admitted he'd known about controversial emails in which researchers discussed 'spinning' climate data, long before the BBC actually reported on them.

The BBC Trust will get started soon on assessing the accuracy and impartiality of its stories on controversial topics such as climate change. It will release its report next year.

"Heated debate in recent years around topics like climate change, GM crops and the MMR vaccine reflects this, and BBC reporting has to steer a course through these controversial issues while remaining impartial," said Richard Tait, BBC Trustee and Chair of the Trust's Editorial Standards Committee (ESC).

"The BBC has a well-earned reputation for the quality of its science reporting, but it is also important that we look at it afresh to ensure that it is adhering to the very high standards that licence fee payers expect."

The BBC's editorial guidelines call for its to be 'open-minded' when examining evidence. But, they say, "It does not require the representation of every argument or facet of every argument on every occasion or an equal division of time for each view."