The BBC, freedom and fencing

The BBC is currently running a feature titled ‘Freedom 2014’ which includes contributions solicited from members of the public. Among the items promoted on the dedicated webpage – as well as on the Middle East page of the BBC News website on February 27th– was a pictorial feature titled “Visions of freedom in the Middle East and North Africa“.

Freedom 2014 main

There, BBC audiences could view fourteen reader-contributed photographs including images of “birds in flight in Abu Dhabi”, camels in the desert in Saudi Arabia and a child playing in the waves in Dubai. Also featured were less abstract, more political images submitted by people from Iran, Bahrain, Egypt and Lebanon. In addition, audiences saw the picture below – which was contributed by a member of the public not from the region, in notable contrast to the majority of the other photographs selected.

Freedom 2014 pic 2

Caption: “Stephen Almond from UK visited Gaza as part of a renal transplant team in December 2013.”It was strange to have to enter a place through such severe security”, he says, of the Erez Crossing.”

Clearly there is not much room for context in a photo feature and hence both the choice of image and caption are of considerable importance – especially to an organization committed to editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality and – one would hope – to the freedom of audiences to reach informed opinions based on the full range of facts surrounding a particular topic.

In this case, uninformed members of the BBC’s audience are left with a context-free image of fencing, to be interpreted – and remembered – without the necessary additional knowledge of why it and “such severe security” measures are needed to protect the freedoms of Israeli civilians from the actions of violent terrorist organisations. How many of those BBC audience members will actually get the real picture? And how many will simply remember ‘Palestinians behind fences’?

 

9 comments on “The BBC, freedom and fencing

  1. Heaven forbid that there was a photo of the ‘Gay Pride’ procession held each year in Tel Aviv. That would say something about ‘freedom’ in the Middle East.

    But of course, the BBC, like their sister The Guardian, presents a bigoted and distorted presentation of Israel at each opportunity.

    It’s shameful that an organization funded by the UK taxpayer, acts in this way.

    • It’s not funded by the ‘taxpayer’, it’s funded by the TV license – entirely voluntary.

      If you don’t like it, don’t pay.

      • Voluntary? 70 people were jailed in 2012 for non-payment. 12% of cases in magistrates courts were due to non-payment.

        • That the troll/sockpuppet claims that the TV Licence is “entirely voluntary” shows just how well informed he/she/it really is.

  2. “an organization committed to editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality” – ROFLMAO.

  3. “Stephen Almond from UK visited Gaza as part of a renal transplant team in December 2013.”It was strange to have to enter a place through such severe security”, he says, of the Erez Crossing.”

    Next time I hope he enter Gaza through the Raffah crossing I am sure he would like it better.

  4. I have crossed many borders in my life, and (apart from where mutual treaties make them open, such as within the mainland EU), nearly all of them involved security checks, barbed wire, armed soldiers etc. Why does Mr Almond, the BBC or anyone else for that matter think that a border between one country and an area ruled by an openly hostile group should be any less secure than, say the border between non-beligerent neighbours such as Tanzania and Rwanda or USA and Mexico?

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