Medical journalist Ben Goldacre has been hit with a legal warning from London radio station LBC after he published an audio clip of an ‘irresponsible’ MMR phone-in on his website.
The Guardian columnist has told Press Gazette he is considering making a formal complaint to broadcasting regulator Ofcom about the 45-minute debate, in which presenter Jeni Barnett discusses the arguments against vaccinating children with the combined measles, mumps and rubella jab.
Barnett said in the the introduction to the debate: “Always at the back of it in my head is: Hold on a minute, there’s a drug company that’s making lots of money out of it.”
Goldacre posted the full audio on his blog on Tuesday because he said the phone-in revisited “all the typical misunderstandings” of the safety of the MMR jab, and was “beyond parody”.
He has since removed it after lawyers for Global Radio, LBC’s parent company, wrote to him claiming copyright infringement.
“It was a very interestingly irresponsible piece of broadcasting and I think that people should be able to freely hear it and discuss it,” Goldacre told Press Gazette.
“It’s probably the best example recently of media coverage as a whole being so seriously irresponsible that it’s become a serious public health problem.”
The effect of attempting to censor content appears not to have improved Barnett’s reputation, as Goldacre notes, “It wasn’t my intention for this to become the thing that Jeni Barnett is most known for on Google, which is inevitably what it’s going to be now.”