BBC yet again fails to clarify the ‘particular viewpoint’ of Cage and Asim Qureshi

Consumers of BBC content on February 26th could not have failed to notice the story promoted as ‘exclusive’ (but also published on the same day by the Washington Post) in which the identity of the ISIS terrorist nicknamed ‘Jihadi John’ was revealed.Emwazi breaking

Among the plethora of reports appearing across all BBC platforms were several which included comment from the organization ‘Cage’ and its representative Asim Qureshi. As readers may recall, we have previously noted here that Qureshi’s appearances on the BBC have been remarkable for the fact that introductions and descriptions of the organization he represents have breached editorial guidelines by failing to comply with the clause which commits the BBC to “clearly summarising the standpoint of any interviewee where it is relevant”.

So did the BBC make efforts to rectify that problem in its latest batch of reports?

An article titled “‘Jihadi John’ named as Mohammed Emwazi from London” which appeared on the BBC News website on February 26th described ‘Cage’ as follows: [emphasis added]

“In a news conference, Asim Qureshi, the research director of the London-based lobby group Cage, which had been in contact with Emwazi over a number of years, explained how he had been approached by the Washington Post for the story and detailed the difficulties Emwazi had had with security services in the UK and overseas.”

The report goes on to state:Emwazi tweet Ed Husain

“Mr Qureshi said Emwazi, who is understood to be about 27, had been “extremely kind, gentle and soft-spoken, the most humble young person I knew”.”

And:

“He [Qureshi] said he did not know what had happened to Emwazi, adding: “When we treat people as if they are outsiders they will inevitably feel like outsiders – our entire national security strategy for the last 13 years has only increased alienation. A narrative of injustice has taken root.” “

An additional report also published on the BBC news website on the same day under the title “Islamic State: Profile of Mohammed Emwazi aka ‘Jihadi John’” described ‘Cage’ as follows: [emphasis added]

“They were interrogated and Emwazi later claimed to Cage, a campaign group in London, that they had been subject to harassment and abuse.”

Yet another article from the same day  – headlined “‘Jihadi John’ UK harassment claims revealed in emails” – informs readers that: [emphasis added]

British advocacy group Cage has disclosed an exchange of emails it says it has had with Mohammed Emwazi, the Islamic State militant known as “Jihadi John”.

Cage campaigns against “state policies developed as part of the War on Terror” and says Emwazi first contacted it in 2009 to complain about being interrogated by a British official at Schipol Airport after trying to visit Tanzania.”Emwazi filmed Qureshi

A filmed report appearing on the BBC News website (as well as on BBC television news) under the title “IS ‘Jihadi John’ suspect ‘a beautiful young man’ – Cage” states in its synopsis:

“The man who has been named as Islamic State militant “Jihadi John” was a “beautiful young man” according to Asim Qureshi, the research director of the London-based campaign group Cage.” [emphasis added]

As we see, despite its extensive promotion of ‘Cage’ and amplification of the bizarre statements from Asim Qureshi, the BBC once again failed its audiences by neglecting to enable them to put that organization and the allegations of its representative into their correct context by means of clarification – as demanded in its own editorial guidelines – of the “particular viewpoint” they represent. 

11 comments on “BBC yet again fails to clarify the ‘particular viewpoint’ of Cage and Asim Qureshi

  1. BBC again breaches its editorial guidelines. 2 questions. 1. Why are they allowed to get away with it? 2. If there are guidelines, who is responsible for policing them and why are they not doing so?

  2. I was enraged by this, too. “Balance” clearly never entered the News team’s head, and thus inevitably left a majority of viewers (who did not smell a rat or immediately look up Cage) with the impression that the atrocities in which Jihadi John took a prominent part were the result of bad professionalism on the part of the security services – on the say-so of … well, who, exactly?

  3. I was incensed by the bbc coverage of this and the way in which they allowed Cage to promote their support of terrorism without challenge. I tried to send an email complaint to both James Harding (Director of News) and Helen Boaden (BBC Director) but both were rejected at server level despite having the correct email address’. Unfortunately it is the case that the BBC has become an unaccountable leftist propaganda machine paid for by the taxpayer.

  4. well if you complain this is what you receive:

    Dear Mr xxxxx

    Thanks for contacting us.

    We understand you felt it was inappropriate for us to cover the CAGE press conference.

    Like other broadcasters, BBC News reported the press conference by CAGE due to their direct contact with, and knowledge of Mohammed Emwazi. Our coverage was one part of wider reporting on what we felt was a very significant news story. Our presenter on the BBC News Channel made clear the context of CAGE’s connection to Mohammed Emwazi before, during and after the press conference. Our presenter also made it clear that the CAGE spokespeople were expressing their own personal views.

    We raised your concerns with senior editorial staff at BBC News who explained that we carefully consider how we cover stories of this nature and felt confirmation of Mohammed Emwazi’s identity was globally significant news. We have heard from a range of opinions on the subject throughout our coverage and feel this has allowed our audience to make up their own minds in their own time.

    Thanks again for contacting us.

    Kind Regards

    BBC Complaints
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

    NB This is sent from an outgoing account only which is not monitored. You cannot reply to this email address but if necessary please contact us via our webform quoting any case number we provided.

  5. Latest

    Dear Mr xxxxx
    We are sorry that you were not satisfied with our earlier response to your complaint and appreciate that you felt strongly enough to contact us again about the matter.
    In these circumstances we aim to investigate and reply to you normally within up to 20 working days (around four weeks) but will contact you if we believe it may take longer. The time needed at this stage depends on the detail of the issues needing investigation, practical issues such as whether a production team is available or away on location and how many other complaints are also having to be investigated.
    We aim to use your licence fee as efficiently as we can, so if you have complained about the same issues as others we will send our response to you and everyone. We may also not investigate or reply in great detail if a complaint doesn’t suggest a potential breach of BBC standards, or a significant issue of general importance. This is in line with the BBC Trust’s complaints procedures which you can read at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/governance/complaints_framework/.
    This acknowledgment is automatically generated from an unmonitored address so please don’t reply. If you think you’ve received this in error please contact us using our webform at http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints, quoting your case reference number.
    We attach the text and case reference number of your complaint below for your records:

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