On the evening of Tuesday, August 13th 2013, BBC World News America conducted an interview on the subject of the talks between Israel and the Palestinians with Robin Wright of the US Institute of Peace.
At 01:28 in the video version of the interview (07:28 in the transcript) Wright says:
“…there are also more than seventy other Palestinian political prisoners who are set to be released and so to get them out there has to be continued talks.” [emphasis added]
BBC guidelines on the subject of live output state:
“If offensive comments are expressed during live interviews, the interviewer should normally intervene, challenge the comments where appropriate and/or distance the BBC from the comments.”
Despite that, the programme’s presenter does not bat an eyelid at this blatant misrepresentation of terrorists and murderers as “political prisoners” – and the resulting implication that Israel imprisons Palestinians because of their political views – and she makes no attempt whatsoever to correct the misinformation promoted by her guest ‘expert’.
This week has seen – for the first time – two articles appearing on the BBC News website which did actually go some way towards clarifying for audiences the nature of the violent crimes committed by the Palestinian prisoners recently released.
One cannot but wonder, however, if the BBC is really committed to providing – as stipulated in its ‘public purposes’ – the background information necessary for broader audience understanding of this issue when we see that those two important articles were given only hours of headline exposure on the website (in comparison, for example, with a navel-gazing article about PM Netanyahu’s recent hernia operation which stayed up on the Middle East homepage for no fewer than five consecutive days – August 11th to 15th inclusive) and when the BBC provides a platform for the dissemination of malicious inaccurate claims such as this one by Robin Wright.