back to article Beeb coughs to Panorama WiFi-scare travesty

The BBC has admitted that the infamous Panorama programme in which Beeb investigators boosted public hysteria regarding health dangers around Wi-Fi in schools was "misleading". The BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) found against Panorama chiefs in a recent ruling. In essence, the ECU thought it was OK to make the programme …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. The Other Steve

    And they should bloody well... made to apologise publicly in the same time slot, and on a full page ad in every daily newspaper.

    And if that eats up the remaining budget for the entire strand them good riddance.

    Panorama has gone from interesting hard news documentary strand to fearmongering tabloid "Tonight" rip off in less time than it took Horizon to become a travesty of it's former self

    That's not an achievement to be proud of.

  2. Mark Allen


    What is it with the Luddite, techno-fear society we are walking into? Now we are dumbing down the kids at school, and not teaching them real physics/maths, there is more and more of this rubbish being spouted.

    Too much TV is just made up as "scary things happening"...

    I have got fed up with the number of times I have had to explain how that TV programme was rubbish... but it is hard to persuade the average "man in the street" that the BBC would lie to them for ratings.

    The BBC should be forced to run a new, corrected, Panorama programme. (And how many schools had to rip out their WiFi networks after the bogus "advice" of this programme?)

  3. Electro Boy

    Bad bad beeb

    What's going on at the Beeb these days? Are they all this dodgy?

  4. Joe

    Panorama schmanorama

    Who takes notice of anything they say anymore, anyway?

  5. Ali P

    Utterly utterly useless

    It's been said before, but the BBC's 'scientific' output is woeful. Stuffed full of liberal-arts type they swallow any old new-age rubbish. And coupled with an anti-capitalist agenda, you can guarantee lots of plugs on news bulletins in the run up to the big exposé.

    There irony is there are perfectly capable scientific journalists at the BBC, they just never seem to get a look in. The ones that do get to put the questions simply don't have the knowledge or background to ask the difficult questions that need to be asked.

  6. The Cube

    Of course they will get away with it

    The Panorama production team have followed BBC editorial policy both to the letter and in spirit. They have created a public outcry about something that does not damage the current government and distracted attention from many other stories that the BBC now lacks the courage to carry. Since the Iraq war / dodgy dossier fiasco the BBC is little more than the Downing Street press office obediently parroting whatever fabricated propoganda the politicians want us brainwashed with this week. The days of the BBC engaging in anything that resembles 'journalism' or 'investigative reporting' are well and truly over, as should be their licence fee, oh, sorry, the government tell them whether they can have that and how much don't they...

    Auntie BEEB may as well come clean, change it's name to Pravda and put Gordon Brown's picture on the test card for 18 hours a day.

    Just take a look back at some of the spineless parroting of government lies and cover up from the BEEB since Tony Bliar got rid of the DG, it is simply not possible to believe that an agency containing the number of experienced journalists that the BBC has does not realise the serious issues with what they broadcast disguised as news. The BBC news and current affairs departments have become little more than a national sedative.

  7. cor
    Dead Vulture

    Reaping the seeds of...

    ..the Tony Blair 'shut up Dr. Kelly' campaign.

    Now the Beeb has become a spineless populist tabloid, sedated and drooling slightly from the corner of its mouth.

  8. Bill L

    Now if only we can get such a review of all the pro-business news passed by mainstream

    Even such sloppy investigation should have at least spurred some inquiry of whether WiFi is safe.

    Now with this knock-down no one will dare speak up if it does emerge as a danger.

    With all the pro business news and information that is passed by mainstream news sources, you'd think there'd be some balance in investigating biased news.

    I'm sure that near the holidays in the UK as it is in the US a major time waster is report after report on the supposed major past time of shopping, leaving out the great non-affluent masses.

    But, the rest of the year, promotions of particular products singularly or en masse (such as those promoted by the egg industry lobbyists, etc.) are dished out with vigor by mainstream news all the time. I never hear of any blow back for such biased pandering either.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Bill Laswell is cool.

    "But, the rest of the year, promotions of particular products singularly or en masse (such as those promoted by the egg industry lobbyists, etc.) are dished out with vigor by mainstream news all the time. I never hear of any blow back for such biased pandering either."

    I agree with you. I'm not quite sure what I'm agreeing with. But I agree with it, whatever it is. And with you. Paris Hilton agrees with you too.

  10. Pie Eater
    Thumb Up

    But the Beeb does do science - look at all the crap it spouts about global warming

    The Beeb is also the official mouthpiece of the "Isn't Global Warming Terrible" brigade, and loves to remind us that we should be hugging windfarms, walking to work and knitting our own roof insulation.

    Funny then, that the minute a disaster occurs, the BBC teams roll up in their dozens to give us up to the minute reports of how Mrs Miggins is managing without water/electricity/Tony B. Liar. God knows how many tons of carbon are consumed, but it's OK, as the news must get through, and News 24 would have 55 minutes to fill each hour if the on-the-spot reporter wasn't wading though the plague of frogs to find someone who can't watch Neighbours as her lounge is full of amphibians.

  11. Robert Baskerville


    This was the worst Panorama I had ever seen.

    I'm surprised that they were not given a good kicking for featuring so prominently the "scientist" who was also, co-incidentally, selling electromagnetic "detectors" (about as scientifically useful as L Ron Hubbard's "E-metre") - outrageous devices lacking all sense of calibration or scale, just a waggling needle shouting "oooh, be afraid". A veritable twunt if ever there was one.

    You barely need A-Level Physics to comprehend that the effects of WiFi are many many many MANY orders of magnitude less than those of mobile phones due to the lower powers involved.


  12. Tim J

    Sod Wi-Fi...

    ...whatever that is - I'm more concerned about whether we should be letting electricity into out homes.

  13. Christopher D'Souza
    Dead Vulture

    I'm trying a new approach to my doctor

    My head gets warm and fuzzy when my PS3 is on. And also when my Bluetooth USB adaptor is plugged in. And my right arm (which is the limb predominately affected by my multiple sclerosis) goes totally numb as if it's been chopped off when exposed to WiFi and Bluuetooth for over 20 minutes at a relatively close distance (say, 5-10 metres). This symptom doesn't occur in normal (ie. when not around relevant EMF) circumstances.

    "Doctor what's happening as I know that Wireless is proven to be safe but these things happen whenever i'm around the "bad" EMF. Can you do some tests on me? What do you mean i'd be too biased? How can feeling it in my head be a sign of bias????? Oh well, mobiles seem ok, i think. I'll take part in one of those double blind test thingies..."

  14. Rodrigo Valenzuela

    From the south of the world

    the view of BBC is, or was, that of state owned station, but with real public interest in mind. BBC documentaries were always viewed with trust, not necessarily full of all the facts, but with an equilibrated view of them. It is really sad that they are lowering their standards like this. In a final note, BBC is a synonym with IUK, so, is not just they that are projecting a bad image, from this point of the world anyway (South America).


  15. Anonymous Coward

    I was going to ring them up and complain about it

    But I was worried the phone might give me cancer.

    Still, at least if I switch it off they can't sting me on dubious telephone competitions.

    The BBC used to be a world-class institution, of which we could usually be proud. But they'd better get their act together pretty soon because there's already a lot of pressure for the licence fee to be scrapped - and bottom-of-the-barrel journalism like this doesn't exactly help their case.

    If I want half-baked reactionary shite I can go elsewhere for it, and pay less.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Highly inconvenient

    Damn, I've been doing great business outside school gates selling tin-foil hats.

    I know a couple of head teachers and asked them whether they'd had any parents panicking over the sky falling in and waving copies of the Daily Mail as proof of WiFi frying brains in schools. As head teachers often bear the brunt of such scare mongering (and noting the same little darlings being ferried in 4X4's) the general feeling was "Fuck 'em, what's next week's thing that's going to be 'killing our kids'? "

  17. walter buchanan

    O dear very uninformed comments

    Sorry folks – too early to relax and ignore all the evidence.

    First, the lead article: the “voice of sanity” – the man from the WHO, Prof Repacholi whose “scientific independence was in question” on Panorama.

    Ha. He was actually let off very lightly. Surely the register is aware of the huge controversy surrounding Prof Repacholi stemming from:

    1) Repacholi Admits Interference from the Industry at the World Health Organisation EMF Project, and

    2) Repacholi reveals that up to half of the funds raised for WHO’s EMF Project came from industry

    and so not surprisingly studies and headlines like this:

    3) Conflict of interest and bias at the WHO

    Conflict of Interest and Bias in Health Advisory Committees: A case study of the WHO's EMF Task Group.

    and therefore also studies like this one (from the Lancet, no less)

    4) WHO Criticized for Neglecting Evidence.

    WHO's Director of Research Policy Dr. Tikki Pang “…acknowledged the criticism had merit..“ "We know our credibility is at stake" , and

    “WHO officials also noted that, in many cases, evidence simply did not exist”.,4670,BritainLancetWHO,00.html

  18. JeffyPooh

    @Robert Baskerville

    "...many many many MANY orders of magnitude less than those of mobile phones due to the lower powers involved."

    Well, maybe ONE order of magnitude actually... WiFi might be 80mW - some more, some maybe less. Mobile phone might be 600mW - some more, some less. This doesn't include the issue of holding the mobile phone up to your head. So, you're probably allowed one 'several', but certainly not four 'many's.

    Excuse me, I've got to get back to my 100+ watt HF ham radio. ;-)

  19. Daniel Bennett

    And we all know

    that WiFi uses less power than Mobile Phones for transmitting.

    So if nout is wrong with Mobiles - I can't see anything wrong with WiFi.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Like the MMR vacination scare

    More Daily Mail science, they should have made an example of a few of these middle class moronic parents and put their kids into care

  21. Anonymous Coward

    the Tripods!

    its like the tripods, with this neo-luddite resurgaance?

    maybe there the aliens are here already?

    maybe its an international conspiritorial plot by a sinister "Janus Syndicate" cabal* to undermine the western democracies and plunge the world into some form of darkness and slavery?**

    * - or should that read "new Labour" and the BBC.

    ** - these comments have no relation to the UK morgate and employment markets.

  22. Mal Franks
    Thumb Down

    it's also annoying

    that BBC News seems to regularly have a story that's just a gratuitous advert for a program on that evening such as Panorama.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Won't somebody think of the children

    I missed the programme but, coincidentally, was contracting at a school at the time. We did have one worried parent ringing up to find out if we used Wi-fi (we did) and what we intended to do about it (nothing).

    I later saw a clip from the programme with the man waving his antenna around prognosticating cellular armaggeddon and was torn between chortling merrily and fuming inchoately.

  24. Spleen

    The BBC is a pillar of our democracy

    ...and like democracy, a state-funded broadcaster is the worst possible option, except for all the other ones. (I.e. Fox News, or Sky News as it's called over here, or the watered down variants on the commercial channels that you actually have to sit through adverts for the privilege of watching.)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Barely Believable Crap

  26. Dan

    @Daniel Bennett

    Is that assumption _definitely_ a correct one?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @The Cube (simple form; simple thinking)

    Before you foam too much at the mouth over this embarrassing programme being the result of the licence fee and how unfair and Government-controlled the BBC is, etc etc etc, just spare a thought for poor old Rupert with his newspapers and his satellite TV making money from you every time you buy a tube of toothpaste, whether or not you read or watch them. And the dinners he has to have with the governors of the land to ensure that he agrees with their policies for fear of turning his media empire against them at the next election.

    As Spleen says - the least worst option.

  28. andy gibson

    William Stuart is the one to blame...

    ... for expressing unfounded concerns. He should stick to what he knows - presenting Fifteen To One on Channel Four.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    The BBC is so cool.....

    We don't need to worry about it - just remember, very soon in a broadcasting centre near you the only ones left with secure contracts to guide the BBC will be at the top table anyway. You know, the ones that were willing to step in and replace a Director General and board that wanted to tell the truth about CENSORED, and the ones that tell the journalists what stories are acceptable - sorry, scrub that - up to editorial standards.

  30. walter buchanan

    Nowt is wrong with Mobiles?

    You all forget that no matter who says what, Panorama discussed evidence. Evidence like this:

    About 100 biological effects here:

    Recent studies (1995-2000) on the biological effects of radiofrequency and cell phone radiation,

    Or if you like to do your own pick ‘n mix, go into the Pubmed medical database

    - and type eg “cell phone effects”.

    Then look amongst your resulting list for

    *DNA damage

    *reduction in melatonin (an antioxidant with cancer-fighting properties)

    *weakening of the blood-brain barrier

    *oxidative stress

    and see how many of each you can find.

    Or put each of these effects into Pubmed directly.

    Of course some studies look for an effect but don't find it.

    Also check out brain tumour studies. Don’t forget to look at those that included lots of long term heavy users.

    Lots of work - but its better than sitting around slagging off Panorama...

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like