BBC report that breached impartiality rules still intact online 12 years on

In November 2004 the Telegraph published an editorial which opened as follows:

“Many listeners to the BBC were rightly outraged last week by the broadcast from its Middle East correspondent, Barbara Plett, in which she cloyingly described how she wept as Yasser Arafat was airlifted from Ramallah for medical treatment.

She said: “When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound, I started to cry . . . without warning.” Almost as a footnote, she later admitted that an “ambivalence towards violence” was one of his failings.”

The BBC received a large volume of complaints concerning that item and in 2005 the BBC governors ruled that Barbara Plett’s report “breached the requirements of due impartiality”.

“The BBC’s director of news, Helen Boaden has apologised for what she described as an “editorial misjudgement”.

She said it appeared Plett “unintentionally gave the impression of over-identifying with Yasser Arafat and his cause”.”

Twelve years on, a written version of that report by Barbara Plett is still available online in its original form.

plett-2004-art

At the bottom of the article this opaquely worded addendum appears:

plett-addendum

That, however, is apparently the sole action the BBC found it appropriate to take regarding a report deemed to lack due impartiality by the highest BBC authority at the time. 

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2 comments on “BBC report that breached impartiality rules still intact online 12 years on

  1. Twelve years on, a written version of that report by Barbara Plett is still available online in its original form.

    Why am I not surprised.

  2. I am surprised that Barbara Plett actually admitted in the report that the average Palestinian cared not one jot, in fact they were probably glad to be free from their dictator. Khaled Abu-Toameh was also there at the time and commented on the fact that people were going about their everyday affairs and were not the slightest bit interested. The only person who appeared to be upset was the BBC’s correspondent who is still in her job! Can you imagine the outcry if a BBC correspondent had wept over Hitler’s suicide? But our feelings don’t matter of course.

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