An upcoming event with the BBC’s Middle East editor

On September 3rd the Frontline Club – with which the BBC frequently collaborates – will be hosting an event titled “Reporting the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict – Emotion, Bias and Objectivity” which we are informed is already fully booked.

The topic of discussion is promoted as follows:

“The latest chapter in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has again highlighted the difficulties of covering this complex and deep-rooted conflict that provokes such a strong emotional response from the general public.

The BBC has faced accusation that it is not critical enough of Israel’s actions and that its reporting is one-sided, whereas Channel 4 News has been accused of crossing the line between journalism and campaigning. Is there a middle ground?

In the face of such devastation should we expect correspondents to offer an objective view devoid of emotion? If we encourage correspondents to show more emotion do we risk compromising the credibility and standard of journalism in this country?

Join us as we take a view of the coverage we have seen, talk to the journalists that have produced it and ask what we can learn.”

On the panel selected to provide answers to those questions are Jeremy ‘I see no human shields’ Bowen and Channel 4’s Jon Snow.Nelson

The discussion would doubtless be enhanced were Bowen  (along with his colleague Orla Guerin) to take the trouble to brush up beforehand on the topic of Hamas’ use of human shields and that policy’s role in causing so many of the civilian casualties which he graphically reported during his recent stint in the Gaza strip.

That, of course, is unlikely to happen but if any of our readers do intend to attend the event and would like to report on it afterwards, we would be interested in hearing from you.

In the meantime, what do readers think of the questions above? Is it really too much to ask journalists to report conflicts objectively and factually? Would we accept that other professions – say doctors or policemen – should have leeway to bend professional standards in light of emotionally difficult scenes or experiences? Is reporting based on journalists’ emotions of any value to the BBC’s funding public? Has the “credibility and standard of journalism” displayed by the BBC indeed been compromised by its coverage of the recent conflict and do readers identify any effects of the style and content of its coverage in broader society? Tell us in the comments below. 








10 comments on “An upcoming event with the BBC’s Middle East editor

  1. I have only seen one unbiased news report on Bbc Tv .Their reporting is definitely biased and inaccurate. They must have an editorial bias against Israel. Their disgusting News reports are definitely increasing antisemitism and influencing Islamic terrorists recruits.
    When I complained they could only give me examples of fair reports on their website none from the television. They never condemn Hamas even when they showed them shooting 13 civilian s.

  2. The event on September 3rd sounds extremely interesting and I am sorry (although not surprised) to read that it is fully booked. Will the debate be broadcast? I think you would attract a large viewing audience.

  3. And just to be clear there is absolutely no question that Hamas is firing from built up civilian areas. Saw it many times with my own eyes.— Jon Donnison (@JonDonnison) August 22, 2014

    So, the question is why didn’t Donnison report it when he was in Gaza, and how is it that Bowen insists he saw no evidence of it?

    • Donnison’s claim is unequivocally contradicted by various foreign news reports from India, France and Italy to name a few. These courageous filmmakers show Hamas rockets being fired from apartment blocks, a school, and a hospital. Viewers in the UK are not shown any of this footage. They are also not shown video of Hamas urging citizens to martyr themselves as human shields and to ignore IDF pamphlets. Also not reported are the foreign journalists being controlled, threatened and often silenced by Hamas if they film ‘sensitive areas’ such as rockets being fired from civilian buildings and bodies of militants. One can only assume that journalists such as Donnison are on Hamas’s payroll. People like Donnison and the biased reporting against Israel by BBC, ITV & Ch.4. does not help Israel unfortunately. It also is fuelling anti-Semitism.

  4. The event is full, but we will make our presence felt by attending outside with our leaflets and posters. Please come along and support us to ensure that the broader public are aware that this cosy closed shop of Anti Judaism bigots masquerading as journalists know they don’t have a free ride, that they do not own the narrative and that as self professed professionals they must #JoinUpTheDots. As Netanyahu said Hamas=ISIS, the same now called IS that David Cameron suddenly noticed last weekend!

  5. It would be very interesting to be able to watch a webcast of this event.
    Have the organisers not missed a trick? Robert Fisk and Owen Jones – two other well known impartial journalists should be on the panel to make it a full house!

    Still can’t understand the complaint that the BBC is pro-Israel what am I missing?

  6. Your program the Israel –Palestinian Conflict – Emotion Bias and Objectivity.

    I notice that you have Jeremy Bowen and Jon Snow on the panel to answer audience questions. I would be very interested to know exactly how you will achieve a balanced view of what has been going on recently in the Middle East and taking into account past history when you have two journalists on your panel who clearly support Hamas.

    Israel and most of the Jews throughout the world are appalled at what is going on in Gaza. Hamas has continually used their own people as human shields. They are not allowed to move away from targeted areas when they have been warned by Israel that an attack is imminent. They are forced to stay where they are. This creates more sympathy for the very successful Hamas PR machine when these people are killed in retaliatory fire.

    Israel set up a field hospital on the border to treat Palestinians injuries. Some have been sent on to specialist hospitals – they have been stopped by Hamas from using this support.

    Israel has been supplying Gaza with water and electricity before and after this conflict started. Israel has been sending in food and humanitarian supplies.

    What enemy does this when it is being bombarded with rockets that have rained over its country for 9 years?

    When you put this program on air, ask the panel if they can think of another country that would put up with this bombardment and have shown such restraint for such a long period of time.

    When are people going to understand that Hamas are terrorists? They are one with IS. Their Charter clearly states that they must kill ALL Jews and this means everywhere not just in Israel. They only want a one state solution not a two state solution, hence the fact that they have broken the ceasefire 11 times now as they do not want Peace!

    • Inviting Bowen and Snow on the panel to answer audience questions about objectivity when reporting on Israel in Gaza is akin to inviting Hitler to discuss the Jewish question. Bowen and Snow time and time again betray their anti-Semitism and their bias towards all Palestinian issues. They refrain from presenting Hamas as a terrorist organisation which is one of the biggest lies that is perpetrated by these so-called ‘news reporters’. I think this event should be demonstrated against. It is a platform for more lies to be published about Israel and the IDF as it masquerades under the respectability of a ‘forum for dialogue.’ Disgusting.

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