BBC branded 'irresponsible' for inviting anti-vaxxers to appear on Question Time
BBC Question Time

BBC's political programme Question Time has come under fire after host Fiona Bruce called on anti-vaxxers to apply to be an audience member on February 3rd when the show will be filmed in London.

Each week, the show takes place in different areas of the UK with a wide variety of different panellists and allows members of the audience to put their questions (or grill) guests on their current affairs views.

During Thursday night's programme (January 20), Bruce announced where the upcoming shows will be taking place are and had a specific request.

“I mentioned last week that we are looking for people to come and be part of our audience who are unvaccinated," she said.

“We know that there’s a relatively higher proportion in London and there are many different reasons people choose not to get vaccinated.”

“I think it’s an important debate,” Bruce concluded.

In the UK, 90.8 per cent of the population (52,203,675) have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine, while 83.7 per cent (48,115,948) have received their second, and 64 per cent (36,821,284) have received their booster or third dose, as of Saturday, January 22nd according to the latest government figures.

The government have recently been firm in their stance on anti-vaxxer rhetoric, with the prime minister attacking anti-vaxxers by accusing them of spreading "mumbo jumbo."

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While Question Time is known for allowing people across the political spectrum to air their views on the issues of the day, many people believe platforming anti-vaxxers is a step too far.

It has led plenty of people to question how the programme will combat Covid and vaccine misinformation and whether the clinically vulnerable will be considered in this debate.

A BBC spokesperson told indy100: “There are still substantial numbers of the British public who are not vaccinated, especially in particular areas and communities. We think this is an interesting part of the debate which is worthy of discussion. Question Time always strives to discuss each side of every argument. This is about listening to, and understanding, our audience members. The BBC has always made the scientific consensus on vaccination very clear.”

On the matter of safety, they added:

“The safety of our audience and panellists is paramount and nothing has changed in terms of our audience requirements. We ask all audience members to provide either proof of full vaccination, evidence of a negative LFT, or proof of recent recovery from Covid. The audience seating arrangements are socially distanced, we ensure there is good ventilation in our venues and we ask audience members to wear a mask when not speaking.”

But it's not the first time, BBC's impartiality has been criticised after it was recently condemned for announcing that flat-Earth conspiracy theorists would be platformed on their channels because of its commitment to freedom of speech.

David Jordan, the BBC’s director of editorial policy and standards said on the matter: "Flat-earthers are not going to get as much space as people who believe that the Earth is round, but very occasionally, it might be appropriate to interview a flat-earther and if a lot of people believed in a flat Earth, [then] we would need to address it more than we do at the present time."

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