BBC axes Planet Relief programme amid fear would 'preach' to viewers
The BBC has scrapped a Planet Relief show after criticism that it was ‘preaching’ to viewers.
The programme, which was scheduled to be shown in the New Year, was meant to raise environmental awareness in Britain using a Comic Relief-style format and celebrities such as Ricky Gervais and Jonathan Ross.
The ultimate goal of the show was to get viewers to take part in a massive ‘switch-off’ to conserve energy.
But two of the BBC’s most senior news and current affairs executives last week condemned it.
News night editor Peter Barron and head of TV news Peter Horrocks claimed the project would jeopardise the company’s impartiality.
Peter Horrocks wrote on the BBC news website: ‘It is not the BBC’s job to lead opinion or proselytise on this or any other subject.’
The move comes after the corporation was accused of being biased on green issues and promoting Left-leaning ideas. It also came under fire for devoting a whole day of programming to the Live Earth concerts in July.
But environmental campaigners have slammed the decision to ditch the project, arguing that it is a wasted opportunity to raise much-needed climate change awareness.
Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper said: ‘This is a very disappointing decision considering the huge potential for the BBC in helping us more quickly make the shift towards a low carbon society.
‘The science of climate change is very clear and if approached in the right way, taking up this very serious issue would not compromise the BBC’s impartiality.’
BBC chiefs deny the decision was a result of impartiality fears.
A spokesman said: ‘Our audiences tell us they are most receptive to documentary or factual style programming as a means of learning about this issue…the decision was not made in light of the recent debate about impartiality.’