When the BBC News website reported an enduring conflict without a narrative

In addition to covering the conference on the topic of the Arab-Israeli conflict held in Paris earlier this month, the BBC News website also reported on talks, held in Geneva, relating to another long-standing conflict.cyprus-art

Hope for a fresh settlement in Cyprus James Landale, January 8th 2017

Cyprus peace talks begin on future of divided island January 9th 2017

Cyprus peace talks ‘resolve many issues’ January 11th 2017

Cyprus peace talks: Can Cypriots heal their divided island? Selin Girit, January 12th 2017

Cyprus peace deal close, says UN chief after Geneva talks January 12th 2017

With one exception, all the reports concerning the Cyprus talks included an impartial and nuanced explanation of the main issues underlying the dispute:


In contrast to BBC coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, audiences reading the coverage of the Cyprus talks did not find any pronouncements allocating disputed territory to one side or the other in the style of the frequently seen terminology “occupied Palestinian land” and “Palestinian territory”.

Regarding the 30,000 or so Turkish troops in northern Cyprus, audiences were told that “Greek Cypriots see them as an occupying force” but not that (with the obvious exception of Turkey) the rest of the world views them in the same way and considers that occupation illegal.

None of the reports concerning Cyprus informs readers of the fact that it was Turkish state policy to facilitate and encourage the immigration of Turkish nationals to the northern part of island during the latter half of the 1970s and – in contrast to BBC reporting on Israel and the Palestinians – the words ‘settlers’, ‘settlements’ and ‘international law’ do not appear in any of the reports.

Obviously the BBC is able to report on the enduring conflict in Cyprus in a manner which refrains from promoting a particular politically-motivated narrative and provides audiences with an impartial view of the issue – just as BBC editorial guidelines demand. Unfortunately for BBC audiences seeking to understand the Arab-Israeli conflict, the same standards are not evident.

Related Articles:

Not all ‘occupied territories’ are equal for the BBC


3 comments on “When the BBC News website reported an enduring conflict without a narrative

  1. I lived in Cyprus for two years just before the Turkish invasion. This was a planned invasion, friends of mine saw the Turkish ships come over the horizon because we lived in Kyrenia (now known as Girne) in northern Cyprus. I would not say it was totally unjustified because before 1974 the Turks were confined to small areas of the island and discriminated against (their post was not delivered in Kyrenia for instance, where the two communities lived side by side). However, there was little justification for an invasion, pressure could have been put on the Greek Cypriots to behave better to the Turks. The BBC does indeed treat the Cyprus issue differently as do the world’s institutions because Greece and Turkey and Cyprus are all members of the EU and Greece and Turkey are both in NATO so must be handled with kid gloves. Ditto the Arab countries, but Israel is totally isolated and virtually friendless which is why the rest of the world delights in condemnation of anything Israel does to protect itself from all its hostile neighbours.

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