BBC India provides another example of BBC double standards on terrorism

h/t J

Last month we noted on these pages that whilst in its coverage of the June 26th attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait the BBC made ample use of the word terror, that term was absent from its coverage of the November 2014 attack on worshippers at the synagogue in Har Nof, Jerusalem – as is generally the case in BBC reporting on terrorism in Israel.

Despite the professed policy of “achieving consistency and accuracy in our journalism” which appears in the BBC’s Guidance concerning “Language when Reporting Terrorism“, there is in fact a lack of consistency in the corporation’s coverage of that subject, as has been recorded here on numerous occasions.

And whilst the guidance claims that “[w]e try to avoid the use of the term “terrorist” without attribution” and “we don’t change the word “terrorist” when quoting other people, but we try to avoid the word ourselves” on the grounds that “[t]he word “terrorist” itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding”, the BBC’s coverage of the recent memorial services for the victims of the 2005 London terror attacks rightly did not “avoid the word”.

BBC 7 7 tweet

On July 27th the BBC India Twitter account promoted an article about that day’s attack in Gurdaspur, Punjab with the following oddly worded Tweet.

BBC India tweet Punjab

The dozens of angry replies to that Tweet are worthy of note.

According to the local police:

“….the attackers first targeted a roadside eatery and took off in a white Maruti 800 with Punjab registration number. They shot dead a roadside vendor near Dinanagar bypass.

They opened fire on passengers of a moving Punjab roadways bus before targeting a community health centre adjacent to Dinanagar police station.

The gunmen barged into the Dinanagar police station and opened indiscriminate fire. The terrorists also targeted another part of the complex where the families of police personnel reside and hurled grenades.” 

In other words, the attacks on civilian targets including a bus, an eatery and a health centre indicate that the method used to carry out this attack was terrorism.

Once again we see that the BBC fails to distinguish between method and aims and as has been noted here previously:

“The result of that is that when a perceived cause is considered acceptable and justifiable, the description of the means is adjusted accordingly.

Until BBC editors do indeed begin to separate the means from the ends, it will of course be impossible for the corporation to present a consistent, uniform approach to the subject of terrorism, to adhere to editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality and to fulfil its purpose to educate and inform.” 

Related Articles:

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The BBC, terrorism and ‘consistency’

The BBC, terrorism and ‘consistency’

The BBC’s guidance on “Language when Reporting Terrorism” states: [emphasis added]

Our policy is about achieving consistency and accuracy in our journalism. We recognise the existence and the reality of terrorism – at this point in the twenty first century we could hardly do otherwise. Moreover, we don’t change the word “terrorist” when quoting other people, but we try to avoid the word ourselves; not because we are morally neutral towards terrorism, nor because we have any sympathy for the perpetrators of the inhuman atrocities which all too often we have to report, but because terrorism is a difficult and emotive subject with significant political overtones.

We also need to ensure that when we report acts of terror, we do so consistently in the stories we report across our services. We have learnt from the experience of covering such events in Northern Ireland as much as in Israel, Spain, Russia, Southern Africa or the many other places where violence divides communities, and where we seek to be seen as objective by all sides, that labels applied to groups can sometimes hinder rather than help.”

And:

“The value judgements frequently implicit in the use of the words “terrorist” or “terrorist group” can create inconsistency in their use or, to audiences, raise doubts about our impartiality. [….]

We also need to ask ourselves whether by using “terrorist” we are taking a political position, or certainly one that may be seen as such.”

However, as has frequently been noted on these pages the BBC’s reporting on terrorism is in fact anything but consistent and the corporation’s reporting on the wave of terror attacks which took place in three countries on June 26th provided another example of that phenomenon.

When two terrorists armed with a gun, knives and axes walked into a Jerusalem synagogue in November 2014 and slaughtered early morning worshippers, the BBC did not categorise that incident as a terror attack.

“One outstanding – although predictable – feature of the BBC’s coverage is that despite the fact that the core story was about a terror attack perpetrated on the congregation of a synagogue, in all of the above reports the word terror and its derivatives were never used directly by the BBC. References to terrorism came only in the form of quotes from Israeli officials (placed in inverted commas by the BBC), from Israeli interviewees or from the US Secretary of State in the filmed report of his statement to the press.”

When at least one terrorist armed with a rifle walked onto a beach in Tunisia in June 2015 and gunned down equally unsuspecting tourists, the language used by the BBC in some of its coverage was very clear.

Tunisia 1

Tunisia 2

Coverage of the other attacks which took place on the same day in France and Kuwait also employed the word terror.

France 1

France 2

BBC terror attacks 1

One can only imagine what the public and parliamentary reaction would have been if – as it did following the January terror attacks in Paris – the BBC had promoted the view that the word terrorist was too “loaded” for use in coverage of the murder of British holiday makers in Tunisia.

But the fact that in this case appropriate use of the word terror was seen in some of the BBC’s coverage of these attacks only serves to further highlight the inconsistency of its practice and the absence of universality in its professed avoidance of making “value judgements”.

Related Articles:

No terror please, we’re the British Broadcasting Corporation

Debate widens on BBC avoidance of the word terrorist

BBC double standards on terrorism surface yet again

Mapping the BBC’s inconsistent use of the word ‘terror’

 

 

The pattern continues: no coverage of Gaza missile attacks in English but BBC Arabic reports Israeli response

For the third time in less than two weeks, missile attacks from the Gaza Strip aimed at Israeli civilians were not reported on the BBC’s English language website but the Israeli response to those terror attacks was covered on the corporation’s Arabic language site.

At around 9:30 p.m. on June 6th residents in the Ashkelon and Hof Ashkelon areas of southern Israel had to run for cover as air-raid sirens sounded a warning of incoming missile fire from the Gaza Strip. One projectile landed in a field in the Hof Ashkelon area, fortunately causing no injuries. Overnight Israel responded with strikes on terror infrastructure in the northern Gaza Strip’s Bet Lahia region and it was announced that the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings would not be opened on June 7th. In addition to the Iron Dome missile defence batteries already deployed two days earlier in southern Israel due to the recent rise in missile fire, a further unit was deployed near Rehovot.

As was the case after the previous attack three days earlier, the missile fire was claimed by a Salafist group in the Gaza Strip and Channel 10’s Hezi Simantov reported that a senior figure in the group told the paper ‘Al Quds’ that such attacks against Israel would continue as long as Hamas continues to hold members of the group under arrest and to ‘persecute’ Salafists in the Gaza Strip.

Whilst the BBC has made a habit of concealing the fact, last summer’s fifty-day conflict between Hamas and Israel also began with attacks by other, smaller, terrorist groups and Hamas’ decision to join in the missile fire was prompted by issues by no means exclusively related to Israel, such as the PA’s refusal to pay the salaries of Hamas employees and the closure of the Rafah border crossing by Egypt.

One might therefore have thought that the BBC would have shown some interest in reporting a second missile attack in three days – and the third in less than two weeks – not only because of the inevitable resulting rise in tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip, but also (especially considering that only two months ago it enthusiastically promoted Khaled Masha’al’s claim that “There is no Daesh [ISIS], no IS or Al Qaeda in Palestine. There are some lone wolves but they are isolated. We don’t allow such thoughts in Palestine”) from the angle of the infighting within the Gaza Strip and Hamas’ failure to prevent other factions from breaching the ceasefire.

However, the BBC’s English language website once again carried no coverage whatsoever of this latest attack. On the other hand, the 1.7 million followers of the BBC Arabic Twitter account were told that “Israeli warplanes bombed the site of the Qassam Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip”.

BBC Arabic 7 june tweet

Visitors to the BBC Arabic website found the same context-free headline in an article which once again leads with the effect rather than the cause.

BBC Arabic 7 june art

As we see, a pattern has been established with regard to the reporting of missile fire from the Gaza Strip. Whilst audiences using the BBC’s English language website are not told of the attacks at all, readers of the BBC Arabic website get to hear first and foremost about the Israeli responses to such attacks.

However one wishes to describe this ongoing editorial policy, the appropriate title is certainly not accurate and impartial journalism.

Related Articles:

Another Gaza Strip missile attack goes unreported by the BBC – in English

BBC News ignores missile attack from Gaza but BBC Arabic reports response

Sniper attack on Gaza Strip border fails to make BBC news in English but reported in Arabic

Resources:

Contact and Complaints – BBC News online

Contact – BBC Arabic

 

 

 

BBC News ignores missile attack from Gaza but BBC Arabic reports response

On June 4th the 1.69 million people who follow the BBC Arabic Twitter account were sent the following (translated) context-free Tweet.

BBC Arabic 4 june tweet

The link contained in that Tweet leads to an article on the BBC Arabic website which similarly informs audiences of “Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip, no injuries” in its headline. Like the Tweet, that article is illustrated using a picture which has nothing to do with the events being reported and, according to a reverse image search, appears to have been photographed in August 2014.BBC Arabic 4 june art

Only in the article’s fifth paragraph (out of a total of eight) did readers discover that something actually occurred before the Israeli airforce’s actions took place.

“The Israeli army announced on Wednesday evening, three rockets fall in open areas Council  of settlements, “poet Negev” [Sdot Negev – Ed] , near Ashkelon, without final confirmation because of the failure to find remnants of the rocket.”

So what did actually happen on the night of June 3rd?

“Three rockets were shot at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip Wednesday night, police said, sending residents hurrying to bomb shelters for the second time in a little over a week.

The Israel Defense Forces said two rockets were fired from the Palestinian enclave and sirens were heard in Netivot and Ashkelon. Police later said three projectiles struck Israel.

The rockets landed in open areas in the Sdot Negev region bordering the northern Gaza Strip, according to media reports.”

Israel later responded to those missile attacks, which were claimed by a Salafist group.

“A radical Islamist Salafist group – the Omar Brigades – claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to Hamas killing an Islamic State supporter.”

The BBC News website’s Middle East page had not carried any coverage of that June 2nd incident.

“A spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Gaza said Hamas forces shot Younis al-Honnor dead after he resisted arrest at his home, where he had illegally stockpiled munitions. Witnesses said there was a shoot-out at the site.”

So, as we see once more, the BBC is aware of missile attacks against Israeli civilians being launched from the Gaza Strip but fails to report them on its English language website. However, Israeli responses to those attacks are reported on the corporation’s Arabic language website, but in ‘last-first’ style which focuses audience attentions on effect rather than cause.

This is the sixth missile attack since the ceasefire came into effect at the end of August 2014 and users of the BBC News website have not been informed about any of those attacks at the time of their occurrence.

It is time for the BBC’s funding public to be told why that is the case.

Related Articles:

Another Gaza Strip missile attack goes unreported by the BBC – in English

BBC responds to complaint about Jeremy Bowen’s ‘Holocaust card’ Tweet

Readers no doubt recall the Tweet below which was sent by the BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen whilst he was covering the Israeli prime minister’s speech to the US Congress on March 3rd 2015.

Bowen tweets speech 1

A member of the public who made a complaint on that matter has received a response from the Complaints Director at the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit – Richard Hutt – which includes the following:

“You have said that this was profoundly offensive and served to trivialise the Holocaust. Reviewing the tweet it did not seem to me that Mr Bowen was referring to the Holocaust as a mere political card to be played, but rather suggesting this is what Mr Netanyahu was doing. I would accept that this is a fine distinction, and one which the medium may not be best suited to convey. However, the sense I took from it was that Mr Bowen felt Mr Netanyahu had introduced the Holocaust in reference to Iran as a means of influencing the decisions of America’s policy makers about that country. Earlier in Mr Netanyahu’s speech he had drawn direct parallels between Iran and Nazi Germany and in his acknowledgement of Elie Wiesel he returned to that comparison – referring to “dark and murderous regimes” and saying that:

And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

The characterisation of those references and that comparison (between Iran now and Nazi Germany in 1938) as the playing of a card does not itself serve to demean the Holocaust or reduce it to a political tool. In fact, accusing another of doing so might suggest quite the opposite.

Some who complained about the tweet have said that it offers evidence of bias, and that the facts regarding Iran support Mr Netanyahu’s decision to bring the holocaust [sic] into the discussion. I appreciate that it might be argued that the denial of the Holocaust by some in Iran, coupled with their belligerence regarding Israel, makes Mr Netanyahu’s reference appropriate. Conversely, some have pointed to profound differences between Iran now and the Nazi state in 1938. It is not, however, for me to pass judgement on the extent to which this reference was apposite, but only on whether Mr Bowen’s characterisation of it amounted to a breach of the BBC’s standards. I cannot say I think it was. The BBC’s guidelines do not prevent correspondents from using their judgement in characterising events and offering their knowledge and experience to offer informed perspectives on them – and this, it seemed to me, was what happened here.

I would accept that this might have been better worded. However, this was not an in-depth article but a single tweet, one of many published over the course of a live event, and the necessary brevity of that format makes extra background impossible – a limitation which I think audiences understand and a context in which it must be judged. I don’t think anyone would look to the tweet for a full understanding of the nuances of the situation in Iran or the speech as a whole but rather a (live) shorthand summary of one aspect of it, as analysed by Mr Bowen. His analysis reflected his particular interpretation of Mr Netanyahu’s comments but as I say such interpretation is allowed and indeed expected of correspondents, particularly from their own Twitter accounts. I don’t therefore believe this amounted to bias.

The BBC’s guidelines do not promise that content will never offend. They do however require that where it might, some editorial justification exists. In this case, I think the informed analysis I describe above would offer that justification, and as I say I do not think this served to belittle the Holocaust in any way. While I recognise and regret that you found this offensive I do not believe it is in breach of the BBC’s standards.”

As was noted here at the time:

“The accepted definition of the idiom ‘play the card’ is to exploit a specific issue for political advantage. In other words, Bowen is accusing Netanyahu of cynically making use of the memory of six million murdered Jews for his own political gain and his use of the words “once again” indicates that Bowen is of the opinion that this is a regular practice on the part of the Israeli prime minister.”

The BBC, it seems, would have us believe that is an ‘informed perspective’ which has “editorial justification”.

Related Articles:

BBC audiences get Israeli PM’s Congress speech through the Bowen filter – part one

Commentary on BBC ME editor’s ‘Holocaust card’ Tweet widens

Examining Lyse Doucet’s claim that she reported new Hamas tunnels on BBC

The BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet recently engaged in a Twitter conversation on the subject of her organisation’s reporting of the topic of Hamas’ cross-border tunnels. Some threads from that conversation can be seen here, here and here but readers will get the gist from the screenshot below.

Doucet tunnels twitter convo

Quentin Sommerville’s two reports (previously discussed here) actually related more to the subject of PIJ rearmament than to the reconstruction of tunnels. As for Doucet’s claim that she “mentioned tunnels in many live broadcasts” – that is true as long as one sticks to the dictionary definition of the word ‘mention‘.

In one of her filmed reports from February 25th Doucet said:

“Six months ago there was a welcome, there was a celebration among Gazans, among Israelis – particularly in southern Israel – that a ceasefire had been reached. But look at this now. It’s like a wasteland. You could be forgiven for thinking there’d been a natural disaster here. But this was the result of 51 days of war as Israeli forces entered on the ground and carried out airstrikes and artillery fire looking for the network of underground tunnels in what they had described as a Hamas stronghold.”

In her other filmed report from the same day Doucet said to Hamas’ Ghazi Hamad:

“But there are reports – credible reports – that Hamas is again digging tunnels, that Hamas has been test-firing missiles in preparation for the next war.”

As we noted here previously, Doucet displayed “no interest whatsoever in questioning Hamad about where the money and materials for rehabilitation of Hamas’ military capabilities are coming from”.

In an item for the February 25th edition of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme (available here from 2:45:28) Doucet said:

“….where I’m speaking to you from – I’m essentially standing on a huge mound of rubble with slabs of concrete and twisted wire rods, fragments of children’s clothing threaded through these stones and rubble and dirt. But this is what most of Shuja’iya looks like. It still lies in ruins six months after that ceasefire was reached. It lies very close to Gaza’s border with Israel. It bore the brunt of Israeli airstrikes, artillery fire and the ground offensive as Israel said it was searching for Hamas tunnels and Hamas military targets.”

In an audio report for the February 25th edition of BBC World Service’s ‘Newshour’ (available from 30:00 here), Doucet introduced an extended version of this item as follows:

“Well there’s a warm winter sun today in Gaza after days of cold rain but I have to say it’s one of the few bright spots – the only bright spot really – you’ll find here in Gaza. I’m in Shuja’iya which lies very close to the border with Israel. And this was a place which bore the brunt of Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire as well as the ground invasion as Israeli forces came into this area to destroy the underground tunnels of Hamas and to target – they say – Hamas targets. But the devastation is all around us: the witness to what really happened here around the Gaza Strip.”

So yes: Doucet did “mention” tunnels. She did not, however, present BBC audiences with the comprehensive picture of the threat those tunnels posed to Israeli civilians in the summer of 2014 which would have enhanced their understanding of the actions taken by Israel and the scenes Doucet now reports with so much pathos. Given that most of the reporting produced by Doucet and her colleagues on that subject whilst the conflict was ongoing was similarly lacking – see examples here, here and here – that omission is obviously very significant.

But no: Doucet did not provide BBC audiences with anything which can seriously be described as meaningful reporting on Hamas’ reconstruction of tunnels since the end of the conflict in any of her many recent reports (see related articles below) from the Gaza Strip.

Related Articles:

BBC’s Lyse Doucet does ‘reporter in the rubble’ redux – part one

BBC’s Lyse Doucet does ‘reporter in the rubble’ redux – part two

BBC’s Lyse Doucet does ‘reporter in the rubble’ redux – part three

Lyse Doucet’s blatant political propaganda on BBC WS WHYS – part one

Lyse Doucet’s blatant political propaganda on BBC WS WHYS – part two

 

 

Hamas PR department invokes BBC’s Bowen

Readers may have heard about the Hamas social media campaign which recently invited Twitter users to ‘#AskHamas’. It is safe to say that the results of that PR drive did not exactly meet the terrorist organisation’s expectations and the topic was picked up by the mainstream media – see for example here, here and here.

Whilst Hamas did not answer most of the Tweets sent its way, here is one which did receive a reply:

Hamas tweet Bowen

Clearly the BBC Middle East editor’s efforts to whitewash Hamas’ use of human shields during last summer’s hostilities did not go unnoticed by that internationally recognised terrorist organisation.

The civilian population of the Gaza Strip might, however, be somewhat less appreciative of that politically motivated reporting from the man supposedly responsible for ensuring the accuracy and impartiality of the BBC’s Middle East content. 

 

Commentary on BBC ME editor’s ‘Holocaust card’ Tweet widens

Writing in the Jewish Chronicle, Professor Alan Johnson comments on Jeremy Bowen’s recent “holocaust card” Tweet sent during the Israeli prime minister’s speech to the US Congress.Bowen tweets speech 1

“Mr Bowen’s idea is that when an Israeli leader mentions the Holocaust he is being tricksy, manipulative, acting in bad faith, “playing a card” to get narrow advantage in contemporary politics, not really expressing a genuine thought about the Holocaust itself or a genuine fear about a second, nuclear, Holocaust.

And that idea, of the Bad Faith Jew, is unmistakably dripping in the assumptions and myths of classic antisemitism.

Mr Bowen did what only the antisemitic extremists used to do, reduce the invocation of the Holocaust to a common sense indicator of ‘Zionist’ bad faith and something to disdain.

Well, the Holocaust happened. It happened to the Jews. And now the Jews are threatened again by a genocidal regime. These are facts.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Update:

Via the Guardian we learn that Jeremy Bowen has responded to criticism of his Tweet – without addressing the actual issue.

Bowen tweet reaction to tweet

We also learn that the BBC has officially elected to address the issue by means of wilful miscomprehension.

“A BBC spokesperson said: “Jeremy was using Twitter and journalism shorthand whilst live-tweeting PM Netanyahu’s speech. The context of his comment is that a major part of PM Netanyahu’s critique of the proposed Iran deal was based on the spectre of another holocaust. Jeremy’s tweet was designed to reflect that context. He absolutely refutes any suggestion of antisemitism.””

The phrase “plays the holocaust card” is not “Twitter and journalism shorthand” for ‘mentions the Holocaust’. The BBC’s official response is an insult to its funding public’s intelligence.  

 

 

BBC audiences get Israeli PM’s Congress speech through the Bowen filter – part one

Regular readers would of course have had few expectations of receiving a wholly impartial report on the Israeli prime minister’s speech to the US Congress on March 3rd from the BBC’s Middle East editor but even they might have been surprised by the tone and content of some of the comments made by Jeremy Bowen as he live-tweeted the speech to his 121 thousand followers – especially in light of the fact that BBC editorial guidelines – including those on accuracy and impartiality – also apply to its staff’s Twitter accounts.

Bowen tweets speech 1

So what did the man who only the day before had alluded to himself as a “serious student of the Middle East” mean by that (small H) “holocaust card” jibe? The accepted definition of the idiom ‘play the card’ is to exploit a specific issue for political advantage. In other words, Bowen is accusing Netanyahu of cynically making use of the memory of six million murdered Jews for his own political gain and his use of the words “once again” indicates that Bowen is of the opinion that this is a regular practice on the part of the Israeli prime minister.

Netanyahu’s actual words were as follows:

“My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. With us today is Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, “never again.”

And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace.

But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.”

Clearly any real “serious student of the Middle East” would have an understanding of the place of the Holocaust in Jewish collective memory just as he would be familiar with the Iranian regime’s record of anti-Israel rhetoric and practical support for terrorist groups seeking the destruction of the Jewish state. Bowen, however, put whatever knowledge he may have aside – instead allowing his personal political prejudices to dictate his commentary.

The same practice was evident in other tweets:

Bowen tweets speech 2

In fact, Netanyahu did not “conflate” Iranian Shiism with Sunni Jihadists as Bowen claims. What he actually did was point out that both those separate and competing ideologies are equally important problems.

“Iran’s regime is as radical as ever, its cries of “Death to America,” that same America that it calls the “Great Satan,” as loud as ever.

Now, this shouldn’t be surprising, because the ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.

Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.

In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.

So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.”

Bowen also commented:

Bowen tweets speech 3

He neglected to clarify that – unlike Iran – Israel is not party to the NPT and of course failed to note that Iran was declared non-compliant to the treaty it did sign as long ago as 2003.

Another Bowen tweet read:

Bowen tweets speech 4

If readers are wondering what Bowen meant by “politics of fear”, that point is clarified in his ‘analysis’ included in two subsequent BBC News website reports on the topic of Netanyahu’s speech.

“The speech was classic Netanyahu. He mixed the politics of fear with the politics of bravery in adversity. Iran was gobbling up Middle East states – a reference to its influence in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen – while Israel stood strong, never again allowing the Jews to be passive victims.”

Of course Iran’s active role in the Syrian civil war and its supply of funding and weapons to terrorist organisations such as Hizballah means that it has rather more than just “influence” in those locations and others throughout the Middle East. However, Bowen’s intent is clearly not to inform audiences of the objective facts, but to persuade them that the Israeli prime minister uses unfounded threats to elicit the political response he seeks by means of emotion.

Bowen’s jaundiced and openly disdainful view of the Israeli prime minister’s speech to Congress was not only communicated to BBC audiences via Twitter. As we will see in part two of this post, BBC reports on the issue were notable for similar inaccuracies, half stories and lack of impartiality. 

A Tweet from the ‘accurate’ and ‘impartial’ BBC’s Paul Adams

On February 13th the BBC’s world affairs correspondent Paul Adams sent this Tweet to over ten thousand followers.

Adams tweet 13 2

As readers can see for themselves, the video purporting to show the “West Bank barrier” is in fact a loop of the same footage shown over and over again in which the same graffiti appears repeatedly every few seconds.

Over 90% of the anti-terrorist fence is exactly that: a fence constructed from wire mesh. Only a small proportion is constructed from concrete slabs of the type shown in Adams’ manipulated video.

Those familiar with the reports produced by Paul Adams when he was ‘parachuted’ into the Gaza Strip during last summer’s conflict will not be very surprised by this inaccurate, misleading and context-free representation of the anti-terrorist fence. Apparently a previous Twitter gaffe by Adams in which he hastily promoted inaccurate information to his followers, leading them to believe that the son of a BBC employee in the Gaza Strip had been killed in an Israeli airstrike, did not prompt him to refresh his knowledge of BBC guidelines on the use of social media.

“Impartiality is a particular concern for those working in News and Current Affairs. Nothing should appear on their personal blogs or microblogs which undermines the integrity or impartiality of the BBC.”

The BBC’s reputation for integrity and impartiality is not strengthened when, apropos of nothing, a BBC correspondent decides to upload to his Twitter account intentionally edited video footage bereft of any context and misrepresenting a politically contentious issue.  

Related Articles:

Does BBC reporting on Israel’s anti-terrorist fence meet standards of ‘due impartiality’? – part 3