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BBC's Panorama misled audience on Wi-Fi

A ruling over the Panorama programme aired on the 21st of May, entitled "Wi-Fi : A warning signal" showed the corporation's concerns over the way the programme was produced.

This edition of Panorama explored the issue of whether the use of Wi-Fi in schools and city centres could be considered as a health hazard and whether something had to be done.

The programme attracted only two complaints from the millions who viewed it; both pointed to the fact that Panorama "gave an unbalanced impression of the state of scientific opinion on the issue (thus exaggerating the grounds for concern), that it wrongly suggested Wi-Fi installations give off a higher level of radiation than mobile phone masts, and that an experiment designed to test whether certain people were hypersensitive to such radiation had been misleadingly presented."

Furthermore, Professor Michael Repacholi, who appeared in the programme, also issued a statement saying he was wrongly presented in the programme, which might lead some to question his impartiality.

Vnunet (opens in new tab) adds that the programme was not totally dismissed but that there are a number of major problems with the way this prime time current affairs programme was constructed.

The programme pointed a London councillor to call for a ban of Wi-Fi use in schools until a full investigation to be carried out, for fear of causing a sauté of children's brains.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.