Mon | Mar 27, 2023

Coverage of Marley-Cannabis deal under investigation

Published:Thursday | December 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM

BBC's 'Today' programme accused of 'glamorising' drug use

Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer

The Marley Natural deal announced earlier last month has again been thrust into the spotlight. This time, a BBC Radio programme is being accused of 'glamourising' drug use based on its coverage of the deal involving the famous reggae family.

Ofcom, which is the United Kingdom's equivalent to the Broadcasting Commission in Jamaica, has launched an investigation into the BBC 4's Today programme, for a report carried on the Marley-Cannabis deal. According to online sources, the allegations against the radio programme surround whether it "glamourised" drug use in its report made on November 19. The broadcasting regulator is looking into whether the report "condoned, encouraged or glamourised the use of illegal substances". Ofcom made the announcement about the investigation on Tuesday.


During the Today show in question, business presenter Simon Jack spoke to the chief executive of the Seattle-based firm, Privateer Holdings (the company behind the venture) revealing details surrounding the deal. Since that interview last month, the reporter as well as the programme and the network have come under fire from persons who believe that they had not been fair in their reports on the matter. One such person is David Raynes, of the National Drugs Prevention Alliance. Raynes believes that, as a media house, the BBC's handling of the topic was irresponsible. "As a public service broadcaster, it (the BBC) has a duty to be fair and balanced,' he said. 'This (the cannabis issues) is not a straightforward issue, and they should have presented both sides of the story. People will be harmed because of the Marley cannabis brand. Some young people may be permanently damaged - and some may be encouraged to take the drug because of this irresponsible reporting."

Since news of the investigation broke, the BBC has responded to Ofcom, conceding that it could have done more to reflect the social impact of the substance in question.

Under the Marley brand, a range of cannabis products will be marketed and sold in countries where the substance has been legalised. The products will include Jamaican cannabis strains, cannabis - and hemp-infused creams, lip balms, as well as accessories, and are expected to go on sale next year.