BBC’s end of year ‘In Pictures’ feature continues to promote unverified Gaza casualty stats

On December 29th the ‘In Pictures’ section of the BBC News website published a collection of nineteen photographs described as “our favourite pictures” which “sum up the past 12 months”.

The caption to the featured photograph below reads:

“A 50-day conflict in Gaza between Israel and militant groups led by Hamas left at least 2,189 Palestinians dead, including more than 1,486 civilians, according to the UN, and 11,000 injured. On the Israeli side, 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed, with scores more wounded. Here, Palestinians carry a wounded boy who was rescued from under the rubble of a house which witnesses said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.”

In Pictures 2014

As we see, over four months since the end of the conflict and despite the existence of more up to date information showing that the civilian/combatant casualty ratio cited above is most likely inflated, the BBC has made no effort to update the information it provides to audiences and continues to quote the UN figures which were problematic from the onset. Neither is there any evidence to suggest that the BBC has independently verified the statistics it promotes in the weeks since the ceasefire came into effect.

The footnote added belatedly to the BBC article on casualty figures which was revised due to political pressure stated:

“We expect to return to this subject at a later date.”

That has not happened and the BBC’s continued blind promotion of unverified statistics is clearly not only an issue in terms of accuracy but, as time goes on and the BBC continues to stubbornly and inexplicably ignore later work done on this topic, it also obviously becomes a growing issue of impartiality.

Related Articles:

BBC Complaints defends its use of Hamas supplied casualty figures

BBC promotion of the inaccurate notion of exceptional civilian casualties in Gaza

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2 comments on “BBC’s end of year ‘In Pictures’ feature continues to promote unverified Gaza casualty stats

    • I’m afraid there is. The UN’s figures are taken directly from Hamas’ own claims:
      after both Cast Lead and Pillar of Defence, the numbers of civilian casualties claimed by Hamas, and at first quoted by the UN, were eventually proven to be wildly inaccurate in terms of numbers of civilians against numbers of combatants killed.
      The detailed analysis for the most recent conflict, while not yet fully complete, is already showing they are likely to be wildly inaccurate this time as well:
      http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/20734.
      The problem is, the UN does not take any time or effort to analyse the numbers the Hamas-run medical services provided to the world while the conflict was ongoing. and past history has shown it is Hamas policy to exaggerate the numbers of civilian casualties, and under- report the number of Hama’s fighters killed, for propaganda purposes.
      It takes some considerable time and effort to fully analyse the lists of the deceased, (as you will see if you follow the above link). Even then, the final numbers are still likely to be skewed in Hamas’ favour, because Hamas also reports all natural deaths ocurring during the conflict period as Israeli caused, plus all victims of Hamas’ own executions of suspected collaborators (approximately 28 such summary executions were carried out during the most recent conflict), plus all deaths caused by Hamas missiles that misfire and actually land within the builtup areas within the Gaza strip (recent history has shown about 10% of Hamas missiles misfire. So theoretically that’s approximately 440 misfires that fell back onto Palestinian homes during Protective Edge – who can say how many people these killed?). Even the most careful analyis of the names and numbers cannot discern which of the reported casualties were caused by such circumstances, so they all still remain attributed to Israeli strikes.

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