An independent review has given the BBC’s science broadcasting high marks overall for quality, quantity, accuracy and impartiality. But its author – Steve Jones, genetics professor at University College London – said the BBC needed to do more to ensure that the pursuit of balance did not result in “giving undue attention to marginal opinion”.
Prof Jones found that some news and current affairs programmes had been guilty of “false impartiality, of presenting the views of tiny and unqualified minorities as if they have the same weight as the scientific consensus”. This applied particularly to controversies about vaccines, genetically modified crops and climate change.
The BBC Trust, which commissioned the review and the BBC Executive said they accepted its findings. In response they will appoint a BBC science editor to oversee the output and establish a training programme for journalists on impartiality as it applies to science.