Earlier this month we revisited a BBC story from May 2016 in which audiences were initially told that Israel had killed a Hizballah commander.
“…the final version of the article – which is still available on the BBC News website – points BBC audiences towards the assumption that Israel may have been responsible for the killing.”
In that post we noted that an investigation conducted by the Al Arabiya network (unreported by the BBC at the time) suggested that Mustafa Badreddine’s assassination was in fact carried out by Hizballah and its Iranian backers and hence:
“…we would of course now expect to see the BBC revisiting this story, reviewing its steering of audiences towards the default conclusion that Israel was likely to have been involved and checking the accuracy of this particular example of “historical record”.”
On March 21st the BBC News website published an article titled “Israel: Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine ‘killed by own men’” which opens as follows:
“The Israeli military’s chief of staff has added weight to Arab media reports that Hezbollah was behind the killing of its own commander in Syria in 2016.
Lt Gen Gadi Eisenkot said Israeli intelligence had similarly concluded that Mustafa Amine Badreddine was assassinated by his own men.”
Later on readers were told that:
“Earlier this month, the pan-Arab news network al-Arabiya said its investigation into Badreddine’s death had concluded that the commander was killed on the orders of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
The report said Hassan Nasrallah was put under pressure to remove Badreddine by Maj Gen Qasem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite overseas operations arm and a key adviser to the Syrian military.”
“On Tuesday, Gen Eisenkot said the Arab media reports that Hezbollah had killed Badreddine matched the “intelligence we have”.”
The BBC’s original article – including the repeated suggestion that Israel may have killed Badreddine – is of course still available online. In light of the developments in the story, best practice would of course necessitate its amendment to include the information in this latest BBC report.
To date, such an update has not been added.