This has fallen into my hands. It is – I am informed – the letter that the BBC complaints people are planning to send to people if they complain about the ludicrous Panorama Wi-Fi show from Monday, featuring Alasdair Philips and electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
I thought it might amuse you to know that it has apparently been written before you managed to write to them. Do please let us all know if you receive anything eerily similar yourself…
Many thanks for taking the time to get in touch following our show, Wi-Fi – A Warning Signal.
I’m sorry if you believe the programme lacked the hard evidence you wanted to see. Unfortunately, the truth is that as things stand, there is no hard evidence regarding the effects of long term exposure to Wi-Fi which is why we made the programme.
Wi-Fi is being rolled out into classrooms around the country by the Government contrary to the precautionary approach recommended by the head of its own advisory body Sir William Stewart – chair of the Health Protection Agency. As you will have seen in the programme, he believes that where radiation is concerned we should base policy on the precautionary principle particularly when it comes to children. This therefore raises questions as to whether Wi-Fi should be rolled out into the classroom without any long term health research being carried out.
Many scientists criticise the way in which the radiation exposure limits are set in this country. The programme featured both the WHO position and ICNIRP who base their limits on what they term a “thermal effect”. It is this view that courts criticism from some scientists, including those featured in our programme, because the safety limits do not take into account a biological effect which some scientists say they have found evidence of. The reason why these positions were not represented by different people is that Dr Michael Repacholi is perhaps the most qualified person to answer such questions given that he was the founding chair of ICNIRP (and continues to be Emeritus Chairman) and because he set up and headed the WHO EMF project for ten years. However, he was given the opportunity to make his position clear in the programme.
The other scientists in the film are all experts in their fields who have concerns that we are rushing forward into something before it’s been around long enough to know what the long term effects could be.
The fact that the Swedish government recognises radiation sensitivity as a disability that affects 3% of the population was, we felt, of interest given our Government’s publicly stated view that this condition does not exist.
The programme attempted to raise concern without causing alarm – always a difficult balance to strike but one which we believe we achieved.
Please continue to let us know your views on the programmes as they are always welcome and we hope you keep watching.
BBC Spokesperson says 25th May
(I’m typing this as we speak on the phone!)
“The letter was written in response to a number of similar complaints that were raised.”
I asked if people will get responses to the specific questions they raised, which were not addressed in this letter? She will get back to me on that.
25th May 2007
“If anyone’s upset with the response they can complain to BBC information if they want someone to look into it further.”
18:10 Paul Kenyon Chat:
Just had a nice chat with Paul Kenyon, presenter of the show, he’s asking his BBC overlords if he is allowed to do an unedited podcast chat about the show with me to post up here/Guardian. Fingers crossed, would be interesting I think.
25th May 2007 19:00 – a comment from BBC Panorama presenter Paul Kenyon is posted here:
Paul Kenyon Podcast
We also had a long chat on the phone, “stilted” while the tape was on, cheery when it wasn’t. Nice chap. Unfortunately it’s on audio cassette – not posh podcast recorder – because you stingy bastards don’t ever spend anything here or here, and god bless you for it, ideas were meant to be free. I’ll try and transfer it over if I can find a weird enough audio cable, it’s just about audible.
You’ve, er, heard the previous high quality recordings of course.