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]
“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.