The BBC has come under fire for opening a debate on its website asking: “Should homosexuals face execution?”
The discussion comes in response to a proposed anti-gay legislation in Uganda that could lead to the death penalty for homosexuals.
Several British politicians denounced the BBC, said the taxpayer-funded broadcaster should not treat the execution of gays as a legitimate topic for discussion.
On his blog Labour Member of Parliament Eric Joyce asked:” “Is the BBC really there to provide credibility to a vile discussion around a profoundly hideous and savage piece of legislation?”
Lynne Featherstone, a lawmaker from the Liberal Democrats, has asked the BBC for an apology and an end to the discussion.
“Suggesting that the state-sponsored murder of gay people is OK as a legitimate topic for debate is deeply offensive,” she said.
Of the 600 comments in reponse to the question, only 200 were deemed appropriate to be published, with 51 of those arguing homosexuals should be executed.
The BBC’s World Service Africa program editor, David Stead, defended the debate. In a blog posted on the BBC Web site, he said editors had “thought long and hard about using this question” and sought to reflect the diverse views about homosexuality in Africa.
“We agree that it is a stark and challenging question, but think that it accurately focuses on and illustrates the real issue at stake,” he said.
The page’s title was later changed to “Should Uganda debate gay execution?” after lobbying by the BBC Pride board, which is composed of gay and lesbian staff at the corporation.