Novak Djokovic Australian Open series 2022

BBC issue statement defending Novak Djokovic interview amidst heavy complaints

The BBC have issued a statement defending their interview with Novak Djokovic after receiving heavy backlash for proposedly giving a platform to anti-vaccination rhetoric with a lack of balance.

As 20-time Grand Slam great Djokovic fought the termination of his medical exemption visa, it was revealed in the legal proceedings that he was unvaccinated against Covid-19.

However, the World number one was not deported for being unvaccinated but instead over fears he may stoke anti-vaccination sentiment.

In an interview with the BBC, Djokovic distanced himself from the anti-vaccination movements but reiterated his intention to remain unvaccinated. He even went as far as to say he will sacrifice Grand Slams if vaccinations are made mandatory.

This will mean he is now the only unvaccinated player within the ATP top 100.

As a result of the interview, the BBC received heavy criticism from other news publications and viewers for giving a large platform to anti-vaccination rhetoric. As such, they have since released a statement defending their interview.

The statement read “we received complaints from some viewers who felt Novak Djokovic’s interview was given too much prominence and felt it is irresponsible for the BBC to provide him with a platform to air his views against the Covid-19 vaccine.

“The BBC’s exclusive interview is the first time Novak Djokovic has spoken about his position himself, and our news editors judged that the interview was of genuine significance and was of interest to our audience, particularly in light of what unfolded in the build-up of the Australian Open in January.

“We appreciate that not everyone will agree with our choice of story running orders, but we consider that this has been a big ongoing news story which also encompasses key issues such as mandatory vaccination and international travel restrictions.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.