Should BBC Have Your Say administrators face execution?

Here are some things that have happened.

1. Ugandan MPs are debating whether being gay should be punishable by death.

2. The BBC World Service made a programme, aired today yesterday, in which they interviewed gay and lesbian Ugandans as well as religious leaders supporting the homophobic bill. So far, so nation speaking peace unto nation.

3. The BBC then asked their notorious Have Your Say contributors the question “Should homosexuals face execution?“. As if this is a topic for debate. As if this a controversial issue where people whose answer would be ‘yes’ might just as easily be as right as the people whose answer would be “No, hanging people because of who they love is wrong, and please shut the door while you’re fucking off.”

I know this is a clichéd thing to say, but I think it helps to get across just how utterly offensive this question is: what if they’d asked whether we should hang all black people? Or if we should deal with the aging population problem by giving everyone a lethal injection at 75? Or if we asked whether we should kill every member of any other completely innocent demographic who in no way deserves to die – like BBC HYS  administrators, to pick a demographic completely at random. (Feel free to Have Your Say below, but be warned I’m a little stricter with the moderation than they are over at the Beeb.)

To me, it seems at best astonishingly naive (anyone who has ever fought through the nausea of reading Have Your Say will know that there are British people on there, people who are allowed to vote, people you might sit next to on the bus, who think that homosexuality should be punishable by death and would not be at all shy about encouraging one another in this view), and – more likely – an example of the same ‘controversy for controversy’s sake’ ethos that saw a certain repulsive fascist given days of exposure on the BBC a few months back.

But enough of my opinion. My housemate Matthew put this better than I ever could: “Have sent a complaint to the BBC over their use of my license fee money to host a debate legitimizing calls for my murder.” You can do the same here, and I’d like it if you did.

ETA – just got an email from the BBC saying their response is here. Have a look for yourself, but I’m particularly interested in: their choice of title – ‘Controversial debate’ (‘controversial’, adjective, pertaining to a disputation concerning a matter of opinion); the phrase ‘We have sought to moderate [emails and texts] rigorously’ (seek harder) and also the phrase ‘varied and hugely diverse views about homosexuality’. Oh well, as long as it’s diverse, that’s all right then.

2 comments

  1. I was expecting far more homophobic responses in HYS then I saw. It’s amazing that so many people from around the world are commenting in favour of LGBT right – a far cry from even 20 years ago.

    Still, it’s an abhorrent question. I wonder if it illustrates that the website isn’t subject to the same draconian editorial controls the rest of the BBC is these days.

  2. Julian Ware-Lane

    It struck me that the BBC could be guilty of incitement. It was obvious what sort of response they would be getting. They should have been asking what the British response should be. After all, we are signatories to the UDHR – how can the state broadcaster even remotely propose that death for homosexuality can be right?

    I like the BBC, but on this one they were badly wrong.

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