SGR supports joint complaint to BBC about Chernobyl documentary

SGR has co-signed a letter of complaint to the BBC about bias in a Radio 4 programme, Fallout: the legacy of Chernobyl, 5 May 2011

The letter of complaint provides a detailed critique of the documentary by independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment, Dr Ian Fairlie.*

Dr Fairlie identified five main defects and a number of factual inaccuracies with the documentary:

  • A lack of balance to the point of apparent bias.
  • A mismatch between what interviewed scientists said and the programme's statements which followed.
  • A failure to appreciate important distinctions in radiation risks.
  • The downplaying of radiation risks by stating that increased cancer incidences were mere 'predictions'. However increased cancers from radiation are estimates just as (for example) increased cancers from tobacco smoke are estimates.
  • A lack of evidence for the programme's main conclusion that fear of radiation and distrust of official statements are more damaging than radiation itself. Indeed the programme contains much evidence to the contrary.

The full text of the letter can be downloaded from:

The Radio 4 programme was first broadcast on 26 April 2011.

* Ian Fairlie was a member of the UK Government commissioned independent Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters (CERRIE). Its final report is available from