Below is a reproduction of a complaint I have submitted to the BBC:
On 12th May, I followed up an email I had sent complaining about the BBC linking to JABS. I have yet to receive a response, so have copied and pasted my email below:
I am still concerned by the assumption that linking to JABS somehow provides ‘balance’. I was interested to note that you stated the BBC must link to JABS for balance – implying that you are somehow impelled to link to that site in order to make articles on vaccines fair and balanced.
Can I please ask the following questions:
Whose decision was it to link to JABS for balance?
How was that decision made?
Are there any sites other than JABS that the BBC could link to for ‘balance’?
Does the BBC link to alternative sites (a) for every story specifically in the health section of the BBC’s website and (b) for every story on the BBC’s website?
Would the BBC ever link to an alternative site other than JABS that gave reckless health advice?
Would the BBC consider a site propagating holocaust-denial appropriate to link to for articles about WWII?
Would the BBC consider a site propagating 9/11 conspiracy theories appropriate to link to for articles about 9/11?
In addition to providing you with the text of my email, I would like to draw your attention to examples of the nature of the site that the BBC is linking to. This post on JABS gives an indication of the quality of advice – http://www.jabs.org.uk/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1138 – note the recommendations of the first respondent. First this poster advises someone to take their child off antibiotics that have been prescribed by a medical professional, they then advise Cod Liver Oil, Probiotics and Homeopathy as alternative treatments and, finally, they finish by advising that wireless devices – including baby monitors – be switched off or removed. Other posters: deny that HIV causes AIDS, advise homeopathy and quantum touch healing instead of conventional medicine and link to the website whale.to – which includes a whole page on HIV/AIDS denialism. Proof of JABS regulars linking to whale.to on HIV/AIDS denialism and a copy of the page itself are available.
Regardless of the disclaimer displayed on its website, I feel that the BBC should not be able to abrogate all responsibility for the content of external sites linked to from said BBC website. The BBC links to JABS, the BBC has been made aware of the nature of JABS by several people and the BBC has made the decision to continue to link to HIV-denialists who give dangerous medical information to vulnerable parents. It is time the BBC took some responsibility for their decision to link to this site – and it’s time they stopped providing links to JABS.
I’ve submitted some more information to the BBC to show what kind of site they are linking to. I’ve basically just posted a link to these HIV denialism posts: here and here. The first thread begins here: page 1.