A little more openness and transparency about the “not fair and open minded” 2007 Panorama ADHD programme…

…has been achieved by reluctantly becoming a complainant to the BBC myself.

On 1st October the Panorama archive page entry for What next for Craig was changed (2), after I pointed out that it still showed the flawed programme summary (“…new research shows how giving children drugs for ADHD works no better than doing nothing in the long-term.”) (3), eight months on from the BBC Trust ruling. Also, the programme title now clicks through to the Trust ruling itself, rather than “page not found”.

On a number of other points I will be consulting with AADD-UK and DANDA, who supported my initial (March 2010) enquiry and subsequent complaint, before taking the issue further to the BBC’s head of News and Current Affairs.

The primary aim is to obtain unedited interviews with professionals and academics from the 2000 and 2007 programmes, which could be very useful for our interpretation of US-based research into ADD / ADHD. Panorama’s current editor claimed that this would not be possible due to “BBC policy”. But this was clearly inaccurate given the increasingly common media practice of releasing unedited material, and the subsequent complaint has resulted in an acknowledgement that BBC editors have wide discretion to make such unedited interviews available.

In due course I intend to place all my correspondence with the BBC on this website.

None of this would be possible without the immense persistence of the original complainant (not myself) to the BBC, who finally obtained the “not fair and open minded” ruling and the rare on-air apology. It has been suggested that this original complainant was a “front” for the pharmaceutical industry, but I can confirm that this is not accurate.

The issue will be pursued with an emphasis on fairness to all concerned.

(Added 1st December 2018. The second link here goes through to a Panorama page with What Next for Craig listed, but the link within that is dead. My complaint received the compliment of a several hundred word response from a senior Panorama producer, but largely avoidant of my points, and by then I had had enough. Now that I have returned as a ‘campaigner’ I will comment on this episode in a future ADHD piece.)

(1) See DrNMblog pieces on 5thMarch, 19th March, 28th May. Tags: Panorama, BBC

(2) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/archive/2007/default.stm

(3) Panorama archive page before 1st October: Panorama 2007 ADHD: archive to 1st October 2010

Published at www.DrNM.org.uk on 15th October 2010; transferred to DrNMblog.wordpress.com on 9th October 2011

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About Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych

Independent Psychiatrist providing culturally informed mental health opinion, advice, and a few new facts. Based near London, UK. Main qualifications: BA MBBS MA MRCPsych.

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