Back in April we noted that the image of BBC employee Jihad Masharawi holding the body of his son Omar had been used by the Iranian regime-linked ‘Islamic Human Rights Commission’ at an anti-Israel protest in London.
Blogger Richard Millett has recorded another instance of the use of the same image in recent days by the same organization, also in London.
As we previously remarked:
“Is the BBC responsible for the fact that Khomeinist sympathisers intent upon Israel’s destruction and the spread of hate speech against Jews use that image to promote their cause? No.
Is the BBC responsible for the fact that the picture of a father carrying his son who was killed as a result of a terrorist missile can be misrepresented as an image depicting Israeli “murder”? Yes.
Because if BBC journalists in the Gaza Strip at the time had adhered to their own editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality, that story would not have been promoted as part of a preconceived narrative depicting Israelis as ‘baby killers’ and that image would not have become entrenched in the minds of the general public as a depiction of Israeli wrong-doing.”
Over six months have now passed since the BBC first promoted its irresponsible and unprofessional knee-jerk report blaming Israel for Omar Masharawi’s death without any proof whatsoever that the story it so energetically promoted had a factual basis. The subsequent corrections issued by the BBC of course received nowhere near as much exposure as the original story itself and the BBC’s response to this very grave lapse of editorial standards has been disappointing at all levels.
In May 2010, the BBC’s former Director General Mark Thompson said:
“The BBC’s motto is ‘Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation’ – the idea being that access to news, information and debate about different countries and cultures can ultimately help foster mutual understanding and tolerance.”
That concept of course has another side to it too. When the news and information accessed by BBC audiences is not accurate or impartial, it can very easily foster hate and intolerance – as the above photograph illustrates only too well. One would have expected Mark Thompson’s successors to be aware of that fact, and to take the resulting responsibility seriously rather than closing ranks as a response to public criticism.