For the attention of:
Mr David Jordan
BBC Director Editorial Policy and Standards; and
Mr Ric Bailey
BBC Chief Adviser Politics
Mr Jordan and Mr Bailey, conflicts of interest were not properly disclosed in the recent BBC News Health article: Parents’ vaccine side effects fear ‘fuelled by social media’, 24 January 2019: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-46972429
I suggest the lack of disclosure of conflicts of interest contravenes the BBC’s Editorial Values, e.g. 1.2.1 Trust, 1.2.3. Impartiality, 1.2.6 Serving the Public Interest, 1.2.7 Fairness and 1.2.11 Accountability: https://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/guidelines/bbc-editorial-values/editorial-values
This BBC News Health article failed to disclose that the Moving the Needle report published by the Royal Society for Public Health was sponsored by a vaccine manufacturer, ‘MSD’, also known as Merck Sharp & Dohme, manufacturers of such vaccine products as the measles, mumps and rubella MMR VaxPRO and the Gardasil HPV vaccine products.
The Moving the Needle report is about “promoting vaccination uptake across the life course”, i.e. about promoting vaccine products throughout life. The BBC News Health article reports the Royal Society for Public Health “wants to see vaccinations being offered in different locations, such as high street pop-ups, gyms and community centres, to encourage uptake”.
Similar to my previous complaint about lack of disclosure of conflicts of interest of Dr Pauline Paterson of the Vaccine Confidence Project on the Newsnight segment Why the anti-vaccination movement is wrong (17 December 2018), the BBC has been caught again promoting vaccine products in its News section, without disclosing conflicts of interest.
The BMJ also promoted the Moving the Needle report, an industry-funded propaganda report, presented behind the facade of the official-sounding ‘Royal Society for Public Health’, apparently a front for Pharma.
My rapid response on this matter published on The BMJ is pertinent to share with you:
According to Gareth Iacobucci, the Royal Society for Public Health warns “The spread of misinformation and “fake news” on social media may be fuelling public concern about potential side effects of vaccination and could restrict uptake”.
Who defines what is ‘misinformation’ about vaccination?
Apparently we’re supposed to trust the Moving the Needle report, a report which is all about “promoting vaccination uptake across the life course”, sponsored by MSD, aka Merck Sharp & Dohme, a vaccine manufacturer.
This report has been produced by the very official sounding ‘Royal Society for Public Health’. Who funds this organisation which claims to be “an independent health education charity”?
The Moving the Needle report notes: “This activity has been sponsored by MSD. MSD did not have editorial input and is not responsible for the content or opinions expressed as part of this activity.”
MSD/Merck Sharp & Dohme is a corporate member of the Royal Society for Public Health, and pays for this organisation to produce a report which aims to stifle critical analysis of vaccination…but apparently we’re expected to take its contents at face value, as though there was no conflict of interest.
The Moving the Needle report includes calls to action to tackle “negative misconceptions of vaccines”, stating “efforts to limit health misinformation online and via social media should be increased, especially by social media platforms themselves”.
Again, who gets to define what is ‘misinformation’ about vaccination in our society?
Are citizens to be forbidden to question the burgeoning number of taxpayer-funded vaccine products and revaccinations?
- Royal Society for Public Health. Moving the needle: promoting vaccination uptake across the life course. Dec 2018: https://www.rsph.org.uk/uploads/assets/uploaded/f8cf580a-57b5-41f4-8e21d…
- RSPH About us: https://www.rsph.org.uk/about-us.html
- RSPH Corporate Members: https://www.rsph.org.uk/membership/corporate-membership/corporate-member…
Competing interests: No competing interests
Mr Jordan and Mr Bailey, the BBC News Health article should have disclosed that the Royal Society for Public Health report Moving the Needle was sponsored by vaccine manufacturer MSD/Merck Sharp & Dohme, and failing to do so contravenes the BBC’s Editorial Values.
What steps will be taken to redress this matter?
What steps will be taken to ensure in future that any conflicts of interest will be disclosed on BBC articles and programs promoting vaccine products?
When will the BBC do its duty to licence-payers and its global audience, and provide critical analysis of vaccination policy and burgeoning international vaccination schedules, in line with BBC Editorial Values, e.g. “1.2.1 Trust: Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest. We are committed to achieving the highest standards of due accuracy and impartiality and strive to avoid knowingly and materially misleading our audiences.”
I look forward to your response.