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Terry Pratchett Film Sparks Outcry

April 15, 2011 (11:05 am) GMT
Beloved British author Terry Pratchett has come under fire from campaigners and politicians in the U.K. over his controversial new documentary, which shows a legally-assisted suicide on camera.
Terry Pratchett

The Discworld novelist, Terry Pratchett, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, is known for his outspoken views on euthanasia and has previously urged health officials in Britain to establish a tribunal system so people with incurable diseases can apply for assistance in ending their life.

He has now filmed a documentary titled "Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die", which follows a 71-year-old sufferer of motor neurone disease as he travels to the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland.

The film shows the man, named only as Peter, take a cocktail of drugs to end his life while Pratchett sits at his bedside - and it has sparked outrage ahead of its planned broadcast on BBC network this summer.

Dr Peter Saunders, director of the Care Not Killing charity, tells the Daily Mail, "The BBC is acting like a cheerleader for legalising assisted suicide. It is regrettable that a man's death will be shown on screen but we are also concerned that this documentary will not be balanced. Given Terry Pratchett's position, the fear is that it will show all the supposed benefits of assisted death with very little redress."

Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Nadine Dorries has also taken aim at the film, adding, "Having someone who is so well known to be in favour of legalising this process means assisted death will be shown in a positive light. It is pushing back a moral boundary. A programme like this will romanticise assisted death and dying."

A spokesman for the BBC says, "The BBC doesn't have a stance on assisted suicide, but we do think that this is an important matter of debate."

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