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BBC respond to my complaint about David Shukman (BBC science editor)





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Published on May 30, 2012

I discuss the reply I got from the BBC complaints department. Sorry for the muffled sound I dont know why my microphone was being a dick that day.

David Shukman (BBC Science Editor) - Synthetic Biology
Original video

I understand you are unhappy with a report by David Shukman on synthetic biology.The BBC Complaints process stipulates that:
"You should complain within 30 working days of the incident or event."


As you have waited until 17 May to send a complaint about a programme broadcast on 28 March 2012, this is so far past broadcast that we do not think there is a case for circumventing our complaints process and taking on your email as a formal complaint.

That said, it may be helpful to know that we have shown your complaint to the BBC's science staff, who make the following observations in relation to the issues you have raised, outside of the complaints process:

This was the second of two reports by David Shukman on synthetic biology. The first included an explanation for non-scientists on how the technology works and went into some detail about the potential benefits. These included progress towards a malaria vaccine, the prospect of new crops able to cope with drought or disease and the possibility of fuel produced by algae with synthetic genes.

We do not feel that David's report was alarmist. It simply reflected the considered views of a number of organisations. A large coalition of environmental groups — and Lloyds of London — have separately raised concerns about so-called "bio-error", in which mistakes might allow an accidental release of material with unpredictable consequences. The UK's leading scientific academy, the Royal Society, has also recognised that as the science develops, new forms of governance may be needed.

Nevertheless, I do appreciate you feel strongly regarding this, and as we're guided by feedback such as yours, I'd like to assure you that I've registered your comments on our audience log. This is a report of audience feedback that's compiled daily and made available to staff across the BBC, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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