As BBC Watch readers will be aware, an interview by Lyse Doucet with Israel’s President Shimon Peres on the occasion of his 90th birthday received considerable exposure across the BBC’s various media channels.
A filmed version of Doucet’s piece appeared on various BBC television news programmes and the same video was featured on the BBC News website’s Middle East page for two consecutive days and on BBC iPlayer. A written version of the interview – which includes another version of a filmed report – appeared on the BBC News website for seven days. The interview was also broadcast on three editions of the BBC World Service’s ‘Newshour‘ programme on August 2nd 2013.
Last month Mr Stephen Franklin made a complaint to the BBC World Service regarding the ‘Newshour’ programme:
“Approximately 49 minutes into yesterday’s Newshour, while interviewing Israel’s President Shimon Peres Lyse Doucet asked him whether he (Peres) believed that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is a partner for peace and listening to Peres reply in the affirmative, Doucet asserted: “And yet we’ve never heard Mr. Netanyahu describe him as a partner for peace.” “
As Mr Franklin pointed out, nearly three years previously the BBC itself had reported on Netanyahu’s use of that very description.
Whilst the BBC World Service acknowledged in correspondence with Mr Franklin that Doucet “might have phrased her question differently”, the interviews remained intact on the website. Hence Mr Franklin approached the BBC again and although the interview itself remains as before, now at least a footnote has been added to the relevant web pages.
One trusts that other branches of the BBC will be making similar clarifications as necessary to other versions of the Doucet interview.