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BBC regrets 'Should gays face execution?' question

Fri 18 Dec 2009 In: International News View at Wayback

The director of the BBC's World Service has apologised for its "Should homosexuals face execution?" debate, admitting the question was "too stark." The BBC says it was keen to host debate on the anti-gay Ugandan bill currently before their parliament, which if passed would see some homosexual 'offences' punishable by death. But in a new statement published on the BBC Editor's Blog, director Peter Horrocks said: "The original headline on our website was, in hindsight, too stark. We apologise for any offence it caused. "But it's important that this does not detract from what is a crucial debate for Africans and the international community," he added. "The programme was a legitimate and responsible attempt to support a challenging discussion about proposed legislation that advocates the death penalty for those who undertake certain homosexual activities in Uganda – an important issue where the BBC can provide a platform for debate that otherwise would not exist across the continent and beyond." The online debate, which is now closed, features several extreme anti-gay views. Meanwhile, a Facebook group on the issue - titled 'We demand an apology from the BBC' - has attracted almost 2,000 members. Several British MPs said the question was "unacceptable", and leading gay equality campaigner Peter Tatchell said the BBC had framed the debate badly: "The BBC would not hold online debates such as: Should Jews be exterminated? Was the Rwandan genocide justified? Should the people of Darfur be massacred? Is it right to stone women to death in Somalia? "Moreover, the BBC's commentary announcing the debate put a very weak case against the execution of lesbian and gay Ugandans," Tatchell added. "It read like an open invitation for homophobic endorsements of the state-sponsored killing of gay people."    

Credit: Daily News Staff

First published: Friday, 18th December 2009 - 9:54am

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