BBC’s Jon Donnison summoned to Government Press Office hearing

BBC Watch can now confirm that a report (Hebrew) which appeared on the Israeli website ‘Walla!’ on November 25th2012 is correct. 

An article on the same subject in English also appeared at The Algemeiner.  

The BBC’s Jon Donnison, together with the head of the BBC Jerusalem Bureau and head of the Foreign Press Association, Paul Danahar, has been summoned by the Government Press Office in Israel to a hearing this coming Wednesday (November 28th) on the subject of Donnison’s Tweet of a picture of a child casualty from Syria as though it were from Gaza – as first publicised by BBC Watch on November 19th 2012. 

Potentially, this exceptional and unusual step on the part of the GPO could lead to Donnison’s Press Credentials being revoked, which would make it very difficult indeed for him to work in the region.  

BBC Watch’s Managing Editor Hadar Sela said:

“It is unfortunate that Donnison has jeopardised his career in such a manner, through his failure to adhere to the BBC’s own Editorial Guidelines on accuracy and impartiality and its existing guidance on the use of social media.

The BBC’s funding British public, as well as millions of people around the world who rely on the BBC for trustworthy information, no doubt also await the results of a BBC investigation into Donnison’s breach of his organisation’s Editorial Guidelines.”

58 comments on “BBC’s Jon Donnison summoned to Government Press Office hearing

    • In Western democracies we have this little thing called ‘Freedom of the press’.

      Journalists have the right to do their job while being protected from persecution.

      BBC Watch People: you’ve spent too long in the Middle East.

      • Having a hand in distorting reality ,whether intentional or inadvertent, is reckless and irresponsible behavior for any individual who calls him or herself a journalist and is quite different from ”freedom of press”, We are sorry to disappoint you but after years of putting up with the BBC’s twisted narrative, it is good to see that such infractions will no longer be tolerated.

        • In brief: nothing happened to the BBC staff. At all. Because Israel has this small thing called “freedom of the press”.

          By the way: why do ‘BBC watch’ people refuse to disclose their identity?

          Ashamed of their work?

          You don’t have a press card, do you?

    • Rumor has it that some people on this website could not make it at the BBC, so they opened this website to attack journalists and the free media in Israel and abroad.


  1. Indeed. But it”s a shame that the BBC doesn’t have the integrity to relocate him, in view of his persistent subjective “gone native” reportage. Should his credentials be revoked, the BBC will be able to claim him as a martyr to censorship, And if they are revoked, and the Supreme Court voids that step, the BBC will be able to claim him as a journalistic hero.
    Slightly off-topic, though still on the subject of Donnison, I wonder what could have caused this antipathy of his towards the pro-Palestinian MediaLens, whom he has blocked as a follower of his on Twitter:

        • Daphne, in Europe and in the USA we have this little thing called ‘freedom of the press’.

          You know like, journalists report independently, they do not read the press releases of the armed forces.

          BBC Watch people, you’ve spent too long in the Middle-East.

      • The term refers to one who spends so much time with the people he was sent to work/live with in contrast to the people he is supposed to represent. In doing so, he forgets his role or allegiance. Politicians are often guilty of this as well and never have to leave the country.

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  3. The BBC really stands for the Biased Broadcasting Corporation. On youtube there is a wonderful sketch on Latma TV about the BBC. Says it all really, spread this around. There is not much hope, however, Chris Patten who is chairman of the BBC is decidely pro-Palestinian. He has made some vociferously anti-Israel statements in the past and is chairman of a Palestinian medical charity. So there will be even more bias than before.

    • Nice! Everyone should watch Latma as an alternative to the BBC… or most any other news, including other Israeli news. 🙂

  4. Daphne Anson hits the nail on the head. While I fully support the Israeli action, this is actually the course which the BBC – had it any integrity – should have followed quickly and without prompting.

    • Why isn’t there a Leveson Enquiry into the BBC?

      Oh, I forgot, there was! The Balen report, paid for by the UK taxpayers but suppressed because it was deemed not to be in the public interest to expose it in all its ignominy

  5. How terrible is Donnison’s crime? He mistakenly posted a picture of a dead child and then apologised. He could have correctly posted pictures of any number of dead Gazan children. The message would be the same – one of the brutality of the Israeli war machine. Meanwhile those responsible for the child deaths are apparently holding him to account for his inadvertant error. Talk about pots and kettles….

    • Sencar says that since people died and one human being is indistinguishable from others, it really doesn’t matter. You can accuse Israel of killing the child: people died in the incident, some were killed by Israel, so you might as well say that this one was killed by Israel. All in all he presents a picture of someone to whom morality and truth telling have been heard of but that he’s kept himself pure and free of them

      • Perhaps the killing of everyone in this conflict should be laid at the door of the Syrians, after all, one body is much like another…..

        And perhaps it was the Allies who carried out the extermination of the Jews during WWII.

        You could not make it up!

    • How terrible would my crime be if I attributed a stupid comment made by some other libero-fascist to sencar. I could correctly post any number of posts that are clearly lame excuses for bashing Israel. The message would be the same – the ennui and waste of time of the sencar nonsense machine. Meanwhile, anyone responsible for those stupid comments are holding him accountable for my inadvertent error. Talk about pots and kettles.

    • IT WAS NOT AN ACCIDENT!!! a journalist doesn’t make a mistake like that, u have to look for the picture and change it’s heading
      that is like putting a picture of the world trade center and saying that that was actually part of Hurricane Sandy.
      or take a random picture of a crashed plane and say that was the Lockerbie Bombing
      people look for the facts of a story, not a belief, thats for takshow hosts.
      how did one reporter of the AUDACITY to post a picture of an ISRAELI child and claim she was hit in gaza by the israelis, when in FACT her house was hit by a ROCKET coming from gaza.

    • Sencar, what kind of cosmopolitan neighborhood do You live in? Why not give up your ‘tony’ nice house, car, bank account, and give them to these poor, abused creatures? George Clooney would do it!

    • How do you know that it is “inadvertent”? Listen up Sherlock, just because you believe that he did it by accident (remember he works for al-Beeb) doesn’t make it so!

      Why are you actually arguing that deliberately spreading hate-promoting lies is no big deal? There was nothing “mistaken” about it, you dope! Had he done what he was supposed to do if he were a half-way competent journalist – ie researched fully the provenance of the photograph rather than been led by his own biases – he might not have published it because it would not have been pertinent to the matter in hand.

      However the BBC, playing to the biases of the gallery of the confused and ill-informed haters like you did not question the assumptions he and they had made.

      And the results are as we see. They never learn, do they?

  6. File your complaint about Jon Donnison to OFCOM, this is the Independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries. They are supposed to take complaints highly serious.

    You can fill the form in your own words or feel free to copy:
    (program title:) Tweet @Jon Donnison
    (date and time of broadcast:)19 November 1212 12:49 AM
    (Channel/Station:) Twitter

    (subject:) Jon Donnison, BBC reporter should be fired.

    (Discription:) Jon Donnison is misinforming the public. He lost his reliability as a journalist and is no longer suitable for his job.

  7. Let me get this straight. Donnison has been summoned out of Gaza to Israel…..

    But I thought Israel no longer controlled Gaza ?

      • Is this the dawning of a new self-awareness in him? Perhaps he knows that he can’t control himself or stop misattributing photographs.

    • Even idiots like you know very well that summoning Donnison to the GPO has nothing to do with Gaza and everything to do with the fact that he is the Israeli correspondent of the BBC. He could stay in Gaza and lose his Israeli press accreditation..

  8. Daphne, you preempted me with your comment about going native, and for the benefit of the poster who is concerned that your comment is racist, going native means fraternising with the people of the country, territory or location.

    If you followed Donnison’s tweets through this campaign, it seemed to me that he was personally involved with the people among whom he worked. This may be acceptable in another occupation, but when you are providing news to an opinion forming media, you have a responsibility to keep that information objective, and he either can’t or won’t do that.

    If his accreditation by the Israel Government Press Office is revoked, he may be able to enter Gaza via Egypt. Less convenient but still allowing him to output his personal feelings. It’s really down to his masters at the BBC to reassign him to a location where he is less personally involved, but with Bowen and Danahar as his line managers, and Patten as head of the BBC Trust, it doesn’t look hopeful.

    Having said that, the BBC acted on Orla Guerin eventually, so nothing’s impossible.

    • If he has no sense of boundaries and has a tendency towards codependency with the people about whom he is reporting, then a move will not solve this.

  9. If personal involvement is the yardstick Jeremy Bowen should been summoned a long time ago – ever since his Palestinian driver was killed by the Israelis on the Lebanese border.

    • Yes, indeed. I remember reading a “Daily Telegraph” article in which he wrote, in the specific light of that tragedy, to “trigger-happy Israeli soldiers”.

    • Agreed, Bataween

      “I believe it so it must be so” is hardly the basis to conduct ethical journalistic reporting.

  10. I hope the Israelis decide to make an example of Jon Donison. The more uncomfortable they make his life, the more likely others will take note. Lying about the Israel-Palestine conflict is a serious breach of journalistic trust.

    With a bit if luck Jon Donison will become the next Jonathon Hari, shunned and ridiculed by his peers.

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  15. Shame, that

    He should have been slung out.

    But perhaps the Israelis want him inside the tent p*ssing out rather than outside the tent p*ssing in? They can watch him more effectively that way.

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  17. There are many more like him. And if he wouldn’t have been caught on this ly then the BBC wouldn’t have any problem
    with this. He is only a small fish… And sure, OF COURSE he must be fired for lying to the whole world… Is that even up for debate?!

  18. He is just a small fish… If he wouldn’t have been caught on that lie , BBC wouldn’t have a problem with him. Lying to the whole world, he is guilty of that. OF COURSE he should get fired and more, is that even up for debate?

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