BBC Defends TV Outlets Not Airing Climate Change Part of BBC/Discovery Channel Program

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(Credit: BBC, screensot)

The BBC and Discovery Channel partnered to broadcast Frozen Planet, a seven-part documentary on “the earth’s polar regions,” Talking Points Memo reported.

As Talking Points Memo explained, “On Thin Ice” addresses ” the effect of climate change on the poles.”  According to the UK Telegraph, the seventh program is being labeled by the BBC as an “optional extra.” However, in response, “campaigners” argue that now climate change opponents can “censor” this program.  The Telegraph cited a Greenpeace spokesperson commenting that not including the seventh part is “a bit like pressing the stop button on Titanic just as the iceberg appears.”

The Telegraph noted that “Over 30 networks across the world have bought the series but a third of them have rejected the choice of the additional two episodes, including the one on climate change.”

According to the Telegraph, Discovery is only airing six episodes because of a “scheduling issue.”  That information is attributed to the BBC.

However, the Discovery Channel’s Laurie Goldberg told StinkyJournalism by e-mail that “Frozen Planet will not be airing on Discovery Channel in the United States until March  and many programming and scheduling decisions have yet to be made.  We do know that the stories, messages and essence of all of the BBC’s seven episodes will be represented throughout  the truly landmark series.”.

The BBC issued a statement on its blog responding to media criticism of the dropped episode.  “There have been some assumptions in the press today about Frozen Planet, that I don’t feel are a true reflection of how the show has been sold and marketed around the world, so I wanted to provide some clarity,” the statement reads.

According to the statement, issued by BBC director of programme investment Caroline Torrance, the seventh segment “is necessarily different in style” from the previous six and therefore the BBC decided to “market the episode separately.” Torrance dismissed comments that “the content” is the reason behind some aren’t airing the last segment.

The documentary’s host David Attenborough defended the decision for broadcasters to exclude the global warming segment, saying the broadcasters have the “right and prerogative,” according to the UK Press Association.

UPDATE: 11/30/2011 4:35 PM EST: Updated to include statement from the Discovery Channel and to clarify that the Telegraph’s reported information regarding the Discovery Channel’s decision on Frozen Planet was attributed to the BBC, and not direct information from the Discovery Channel


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BBC Defends TV Outlets Not Airing Climate Change Part of BBC/Discovery Channel Program

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