BBC double standards on disputed territories

At the beginning of November the BBC World Service produced two items concerning a decades-old conflict involving an invasion, disputed territory, thousands of people living in refugee camps and more than twenty years of failed negotiations.Witness W sahara audio

However, BBC audiences did not hear the words ‘occupied’ or ‘illegal under international law’ as they so frequently do in content relating to Israel. In fact, what they did hear in those two programmes was a nostalgic and sympathetic portrayal of Morocco’s ‘Green March’ into Western Sahara in 1975.

The audio version of that episode of ‘Witness’ uses the term “disputed territory” in its synopsis.

“In November 1975, King Hassan the Second ordered hundreds of thousands of Moroccans to march into disputed territory in the desert. He wanted to claim the colony of Spanish Sahara for Morocco. The Green March led to a diplomatic victory for the King, but sparked a guerrilla war and decades of instability in the region. Witness speaks to a Moroccan who was on the march.”

The synopsis to the filmed version of the same programme uses the same term.Witness W Sahara filmed

“Forty years ago, the King of Morocco ordered hundreds of thousands of Moroccans to march into the Sahara desert to claim an area of disputed territory from Spain. The Green March, as it became known, was instigated in part to boost King Hassan the Second’s faltering support at home and sparked a long guerrilla war.
Moroccan TV journalist, Seddik Maaninou, was on the march and spoke to Witness about a turning point in North African history.”

The BBC Academy’s style guide entry for Western Sahara describes it as “[d]isputed territory administered by Morocco” and readers will not find terms such as ‘occupied’ or ‘international law’ in the corporation’s profile of Western Sahara.



5 comments on “BBC double standards on disputed territories

  1. Apparently, the Swedish foreign minister, famous for her anti-Israel policy and remarks is trying to get Morocco’s invasion of Western Sahara to be declared perfectly legal and acceptable! I wonder what this will do to the Cooperative movement, which claims that it is not operating a boycott of Israel although it bans produce from the three major Israeli agricultural exporters and also claims that it bans sardines from Western Sahara. The other example of this double standard – an even more flagrant one – is the partition of Cyprus. No condemnation of the Turkish invasion, which I witnessed in 1973 when I was living there.

  2. Here is another example of BBC double standards: if you read local newspapers in areas that are heavily Muslim you will see a catalogue of crime. Yesterday, ten Muslim men were convicted of rape at Bradford Crown Court while BBC news was giving free publicity to the latest Star Wars film and chatting with Major Tim in space. So leave out the knifings in Israel and the crime wave generated in the areas of Britain predominantly settled by Muslims and you have the perfect whitewash.

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