Disputed or occupied? Documenting the BBC’s continuing double standards

In December 2015 and again in March 2016 we documented the differences in the terminology used by the BBC in coverage of stories concerning Western Sahara and stories concerning Judea & Samaria, parts of Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

On June 1st the BBC News website published an article – “Western Sahara: Polisario Front leader Abdelaziz dies” – in which the corporation’s double standards were once again on display. [emphasis added]W Sahara art 2

“Mohamed Abdelaziz, 68, was secretary-general of the Polisario Front, which fights for an end to Moroccan rule in Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony annexed by Rabat in 1975. […]

Morocco considers Western Sahara to be its “southern provinces”, but Algeria and other countries recognise the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) declared by the Polisario Front in 1976. […]

The Moroccan government has proposed wide-ranging autonomy for the region, but the Polisario Front wants self-determination through a referendum for the local population, as called for in UN resolutions.

In April Morocco expelled 84 UN civilian staff after after [sic] UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon referred to Morocco’s rule over Western Sahara as “occupation” during a visit to refugee camps in Tindouf.

The same month, senior Polisario Front member Bachir Mustafa Sayed warned of possible war over the disputed territory if the UN failed to set a timetable for a referendum on self-determination.”

The BBC’s presentation of Western Sahara as “disputed territory” contrasts markedly with its inevitable – and stipulated – portrayal of Judea & Samaria, parts of Jerusalem and even the Gaza Strip as “occupied”. As long as that inconsistency in terminology exists, the corporation cannot be surprised that its impartiality is called into question.

Related Articles:

BBC double standards on disputed territories

Another example of BBC double standards on disputed territories

Not all ‘occupied territories’ are equal for the BBC

BBC approved terminology meets reality and the result is audience confusion


8 comments on “Disputed or occupied? Documenting the BBC’s continuing double standards

  1. What about Cyprus, an occupation by the Turks even closer to home? No one at the BBC ever refers to “occupied Northern Cyprus” although the Turkish occupation is not recognized, and by the way, ALL the Greeks were kicked out of their homes by the Turks when they invaded. I know, I lived in Cyprus just before it was invaded.

  2. Judea/Samaria/Gaza are OCCUPIED BY ARABS even as per UN’s Charter article 80 the rest is blabber from the medias and anti Israel governments in particular France which saves a lot of time and money trying to snatch these provinces from Israel insrtead of taking care of its own buisness. The Pairs CHAOS while it musters as many nations as possible to make useless pressures over Israel is a proof. France serves arabs not peace.

  3. Thank you, Robert Davis 74, for the notion that “occupied territories” in future means “occupied by Arabs”. Somehow I don’t think that Jeremy Bowen will broadcast this truth.

  4. Pingback: 06/03 Links Pt2: BDS: A new face on an old hate; Jeremy Corbyn on Israel; Mekonen – Journey Of An African Jew – 24/6 Magazine

  5. If I recall correctly, the BBC justifies labeling the WB as “occupied” on the grounds that the UNSC says so. But when pointed out that under Article 80 of the Charter the SC has no binding legal power to say this the BBC does not respond, nor change its policy.

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