BBC criticised for platforming a conversion therapy organisation

The BBC has received push back from viewers for presenting gay and transgender conversion therapy as a two-sided debate.

Mike Davidson wearing a shirt and suit in a BBC report about conversion therapy.

The BBC is under fire for its presentation of conversion therapy in a recent news report. The report aired on Monday and featured a testimony from Gareth, a survivor of conversion therapy, and how his “treatment” had lasting effects on his mental health as well as his relationship with his own sexuality.

However, the segment also featured Mike Davidson of Core Issues Trust. Core Issues Trust is a Christian organisation which performs conversion therapy and  claims to challenge “gender confusion”.

In addition to that, the report also includes an interview with Matthew Grech, who has described himself as a former homosexual. Despite this, Grech admitted he is still attracted to people of the same sex.

The inclusion of people who claim conversion therapy is an effective treatment has led to the BBC report being criticised by some online.

“So @BBCNews considers it ‘good journalism’ to present both sides of a ‘debate’. But if a practice is proven to have a 57% suicide rate, do you really want to debate it? How do you like that blood on your hands?” one Twitter user said.

“And would the @BBCNews like to also produce ‘two sides’ programmes slavery or universal suffrage? Giving a platform to hate speech is banalizing hate speech, it’s making it more common, and eventually, tolerable in our society,” another user said.

In a statement to PinkNews, a BBC spokesperson responded to these criticisms and said: “The piece focused on the story of a young man who has rejected the therapy and talked of the pain and unhappiness it has caused him.”

“Our reporter put this case to Mike Davidson, a man behind one of the ‘conversion therapy’ groups, challenged him robustly and scrutinised his practices, including putting examples to him where his methods have been said to be detrimental to people’s mental health.”

This news report aired shortly after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that conversion therapy would be banned in the UK. This is not the first time the Conservative government has made this promise though, with similar promises made back in 2018. It remains legal in the UK – including Northern Ireland.

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