Why the accuracy and impartiality of BBC reporting matters

Last week a debate on the conditions and health of Palestinian children was held in the House of Lords.  As noted by NGO Monitor, a briefing paper was prepared ahead of that debate.HoL pic

“In July 2016, the UK House of Lords Library posted a briefing paper: “Living Conditions, Health and Wellbeing of Palestinian Children,” which was “withdrawn” without explanation on July 19, but is available on unofficial websites.” 

As NGO Monitor points out, that briefing paper relied heavily on information promoted by various political NGOs – but it also included information gleaned from several BBC reports.

Footnote 4 (and 11) referred readers to an article titled “Palestinian jailed for murder of Israeli teenagers” which was published on January 6th, 2015 as the source for the following information:

HoL doc 1

As was noted here at the time that article was published:

“The BBC report plays down Hamas involvement in the kidnappings and murders:

“The leader of Hamas, the Islamist group dominant in Gaza, said in an interview in August that a Hamas cell had killed the teenagers but had not acted on instructions from above.”

The article fails to adequately clarify that funding for the terror attack came from Hamas sources in the Gaza Strip or that high-ranking Hamas operative Saleh al Arouri admitted the organisation’s involvement in August 2014.”

Footnotes 14 and 15 referred readers to a BBC article dating from September 1st 2014 as the source of the information below:

HoL doc 2

Notably, no effort is made to distinguish Palestinian civilian casualties from combatants. That of course will not come as a surprise to those who are aware of the sources of those UN quoted figures. As was previously noted here in relation to that BBC article:

“Once again we see the BBC quoting “the UN” as though that body were impeccably objective, but with no effort made to inform audiences with regard to the very significant issue of the background to those UN statements and the political motivations involved.”

Footnote 16 referred readers to a BBC report from August 27th 2014 titled “Gaza conflict: Israel and Palestinians agree long-term truce”.

HoL doc 3

As was noted here at the time:

“The real story behind the August 26th ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is of course the fact that Hamas could have accepted the same terms six weeks earlier and thereby prevented hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries, extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure and unquantifiable suffering for the people of the Gaza Strip.”

Footnotes 33, 34 and 36 referred readers to an article by Yolande Knell from July 8th 2015 titled “Why is Gaza reconstruction so slow?”

HoL doc 4

As was noted here at the time, that politicised campaigning article by Knell made no mention of Hamas’ misappropriation of construction materials or its renewed tunnel building and it misrepresented the topic of dual-use goods.

The BBC’s coverage of the conflict between Israel and Hamas and other assorted terrorist organisations in the summer of 2014 was highly – and consistently – problematic: not least for its serial misrepresentation of the topic of civilian/combatant casualty figures and the use of data supplied by Hamas and its supporters. Both during and after the conflict, the corporation adopted a campaigning role on the issue of the restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel in response to terrorism and presented a partisan view of the topic of reconstruction in Gaza.

It is obviously very disturbing to see reporting which did not meet the BBC’s professed editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality being promoted to members of the House of Lords ahead of a debate but the fact that the house’s researchers use such material as the basis for a briefing paper serves to highlight exactly why the British public, their politicians and public officials should be all the more concerned about the accuracy and impartiality of BBC journalism which later becomes “historical record“.  



22 comments on “Why the accuracy and impartiality of BBC reporting matters

  1. BBC Watch is automatically biased, therefore in order to bring some balance and other views to the debate, I am proposing BBC Watch Watch site, to be set up as soon as possible, if anyone wishes to assist in its development and monitoring, I would like to hear from them.

    • BBC Watch is not biased – it reports facts only – and it is the BBC that produces the biased reports that need monitoring in the interest of neutrality. I would be pleased to help you in your project by leading you to take a long walk off a short plank..

      • It seems that anyone who disagrees with your views are required by your likes to ‘take a long walk from a short plank’ and that is without even listening to what the other person has to say! Such people display the mentality of those who are thick as two short planks!

          • John,
            Absolutely not. It just goes to show the disrespect that you people have for anyone who disagrees with you, even without listening yet to the debate. Shockingly ignorant, and that apparently is how you wish to remain.

        • Funny how the BBC can lie and ignore minor issues like the facts and yet anybody that calls them on it is biased.

          Typical of apologists – when challenged with facts accuse those that challenge with bias.

          Grow up kid

          • I would and will certainly pick the BBC out over any bias that they show, you can be sure of that, I don’t care where they come from or how big they think they are.

  2. Since you appear to believe that you have grounds for calling BBCWatch biased perhaps you can point out instances of bias in the above article, accompanied of course, by your proof.

  3. John,
    You don’t know me, you don’t know who I am or what I do but I am certainly beginning to know who and what you are!

    • Apologies. He was a Muslim.

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