BBC reprimands presenter after climate campaign

The BBC has reprimanded one of its science presenters after he launched a political campaign against an MP, based on his views on climate change. Dr Adam Rutherford, who presents […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The BBC has reprimanded one of its science presenters after he launched a political campaign against an MP, based on his views on climate change.

Dr Adam Rutherford, who presents the Inside Science show on Radio 4, began campaigning against Graham Stringer, Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton, to protest against his selection to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.

The MP is a member of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) think tank, which has a lobbying wing dedicated to opposing policies that limit greenhouse gas emissions and questions mankind’s role in the process.

The presenter took to social media to call on his readers to show ‘righteous indignation’ and to write letters of complaint about Stringer to their local representatives.

Paul Smith, Head of Editorial Standards and Commissioning Policy at BBC Radio, said: “Any BBC presenter, freelance or otherwise, needs to consider how their outside comments might impact on the work they do for the BBC.

“On this occasion, in my view, Dr Rutherford’s comments on Twitter potentially compromised the BBC’s impartiality on this issue.”

Dr Rutherford has now been warned although he is entitled to his own views, he must consider that controversial tweets might compromise his work as a BBC presenter.

Watch our Short Fuse episode discussing climate reporting in the media.