Anti-Israel campaigners seek Balen 2 from the BBC

As if enough public money had not already been wasted by the BBC in order to prevent the publication of the 2004 Balen Report, a petition is now doing the rounds to try to persuade the BBC to repeat the exercise. 

“This petition calls upon the Trustees of the BBC Trust to initiate a full, impartial and public inquiry into the way that the BBC reports on matters relating to Israel in relation to events in the Middle East, with the objective of establishing whether such bias exists and if so how this should be remedied on an enduring basis in the short and long term.”

Although it would undoubtedly be simpler – and cheaper – to petition the BBC to release the report it already has, that of course would not achieve the same PR effects that the initiator of this petition apparently seeks. Read all about it over at The Commentator.  

Letter to The Times calls for release of Balen Report

The letter below, from the former Chair of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain & Ireland, recently appeared in The Times (£). 

Sir, Is it unreasonable to expect the BBC, our public broadcaster, to be neutral in its reporting, to expose and not ignore matters of national importance, to treat its funding with respect, not to re-employ executives who have been publicly criticised, and to have a complaints procedure that does not require a near genius to navigate? Professor Goode’s defence of the BBC for only doing part of its job is misplaced.

The BBC should always be transparent, and now would be a good opportunity to show it understands its failings and publish its own commissioned Balen report (on its reporting of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict) that it has spent more than £330,000 of our money in concealing.

Harvey Rose 
London NW11


The Commentator’s FOI request on the Balen Report

Our friends over at The Commentator have news of their Freedom of Information request regarding the Balen Report. 

“A new Freedom of Information request by The Commentator has led to the BBC having to once again hide information about the Balen Report.

The report, initially commissioned in 2006, set out to analyse the BBC’s coverage of the Middle East. The author was Malcolm Balen, the BBC’s senior editorial adviser.

Since then, the UK’s largest broadcaster, which is indeed funded by the public, has refused to release the report and been coy about its spending and the complaints it has received as a result.

A Freedom of Information request by The Commentator earlier this year found that the BBC had spent over £330,000 on external legal costs. The BBC failed to answer questions about internal costs and the cost of commissioning and reviewing of the report.”

Read the rest here.  


Petition for release of BBC’s Balen Report

The Zionist Federation has initiated a petition calling for the release of the Balen Report.  

“We call upon the BBC to release the findings to the general public of the Balen report that looked into its Middle East coverage and allegations of bias against Israel by the BBC. The BBC has spent over a third of a million pounds on covering up these findings for eight years. We believe this is a misuse of BBC licence fee payers’ money. The BBC should be obligated to reveal to its licence fee payers all the findings of this report on its coverage of the Middle East.” 

For more on the circumstances surrounding the Balen Report, see here.