One of the political NGOs most frequently quoted and promoted in BBC Middle East coverage – even on issues in which it is not involved and despite the fact that it engages in lawfare against Israel – is Human Rights Watch (HRW). In particular, the BBC tends to put out rapid amplification of the content of reports produced by HRW, no matter how dubious their methodology. Examples from the last two years alone include:
“Human Rights Watch said both the Western-backed Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and its rival, the ruling Islamic militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, are “arresting, abusing, and criminally charging journalists and activists who express peaceful criticism of the authorities.” […]
HRW said that in the West Bank, Palestinian forces arrested activists and musicians who “ridiculed Palestinian security forces” and “accused the government of corruption” in statements posted on Facebook or stated in graffiti and rap songs.
In Gaza, the rights group said an activist who criticized Hamas for “failing to protect a man with a mental disability” was detained and intimidated by the group, as was a journalist who “posted a photograph of a woman looking for food in a garbage bin.”
The New York-based rights group said that in the incidents of abuse, “activists and journalists said that security officers beat or kicked them, deprived them of sleep and proper food, hosed them with cold and then hot water, and made them maintain uncomfortable positions for long hours.””
It is worth noting for the record that, in contrast to its usual practice and despite its record of campaigning on the issue of safety of journalists, the BBC has to date not produced an article amplifying this latest HRW report.