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Letter to Ofcom | Climate of denial

Letter to Ofcom

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30 March 2007

Dear Sirs/Madams,
FAO The Broadcast Team

Dear Sirs/Madams,

I am writing to make a complaint about a number of breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code by ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’, which was broadcast on Channel Four on 8 March 2007, and subsequently repeated on the More 4 channel.

I have documented in the attached document seven major breaches of Section 5.7 of the Code, which states: “Views and facts must not be misrepresented”. The programme misrepresented the scientific evidence and interpretations about climate change that have been documented by researchers through peer-reviewed papers. The programme also contained factual inaccuracies and erroneous attributions.

I do not dispute the right of broadcasters to make programmes that present different viewpoints on the science of climate change. As a member of the Board of the Science Media Centre, I am fully supportive of the freedom of the media to report different viewpoints. However, it is clearly not in the public interest for such views to be supported through misrepresentations by broadcasters of the scientific evidence. Indeed, the errors in this programme are so serious and fundamental that it surely destroys the entire credibility of its central argument ie that the recent rise in global average temperature is due to solar activity instead of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

The overall effect of the misrepresentations was to completely mislead viewers of the programme. Therefore, it is difficult to see how any repeat broadcast of this programme, in the absence of profound amendments to remove the misrepresentations and inaccuracies, would be in the public interest.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Ward,
Director, Global Science Networks,
Risk Management Solutions