“We have spoken to the production team and presenter to remind them of the need to ensure that any contentious remarks are challenged and questioned, at whatever point they are made during the programme.”
An edition of that same BBC News channel programme, hosted by the same presenter – Jane Hill – was aired on January 27th and Nabila Ramdani was once again on the panel. The first topic of discussion was described by Hill as follows:
“Was anything achieved at the World Economic Forum in Davos?”
The bulk of Ramdani’s contribution to the discussion was as follows (from 06:12 in the video below): [emphasis in italics in the original, emphasis in bold added]
Ramdani: “I think the only group that Trump expressed his usual venal prejudice towards at Davos was the Palestinians. And of course at the time he was sitting next to his ideological ally and close friend Binyamin Netanyahu. And he effectively said that he wanted to stop millions of dollars of aid to Palestinians because the Palestinian Authority showed disrespect – as he put it – towards Mike Pence, his vice-president, during his recent visit to Israel. So essentially Donald Trump accuses the Palestinians of not being polite enough as their land is stolen, as they are routinely murdered in their thousands, imprisoned in their hundreds and undergo in all manners, all manners of human rights abuses. And there was of course no mention of the incredibly provocative decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem while completely ignoring the Palestinian right to East Jerusalem as their capital. And what I found particularly disdainful was the way Trump threatened to wash his hands of the entire Israel peace process, making out that he’d had quite enough of the boorish Palestinians, again signalling that they should somehow accept their fate and also be polite towards the billions of dollars poured into Israel to ruin their lives.”
So what was the reaction of Jane Hill who, the BBC claimed, only six months ago had been reminded of the need to challenge and question contentious remarks “at whatever point they are made during the programme”?
Hill: “And we will certainly talk about that on another day.”
So in addition to viewers going away with the inaccurate impression that the US president did not make any “mention” of his administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (which – as the BBC itself reported – he did), they were also fed the falsehood that ‘Palestinian’ land is being “stolen” by Israel, that Palestinians are being “routinely murdered in their thousands” and “imprisoned in their hundreds”, that Israel carries out unnamed “human rights abuses” and that US military aid to Israel is designed or used to “ruin” the lives of Palestinians.
The BBC’s editorial guidelines – which of course apply to all content broadcast by the corporation, including commissioned programmes made by outside production companies– include guidance on live output which has a sub-section titled ‘Offensive Comments’.
“If offensive comments are expressed during live interviews, the interviewer should normally intervene, challenge the comments where appropriate and/or distance the BBC from the comments. If this doesn’t happen we should make an on-air apology at the earliest opportunity. Potentially offensive comments include remarks that may be interpreted as, for example, racist, sexist, homophobic, prejudiced against a religious group, or reflecting an unflattering national stereotype.”
That same guidance also claims that:
“Due impartiality lies at the heart of the BBC’s standards. It is a core value and no area of programming is exempt from it. It is vital that any package or interview broadcast during a live event is impartial and fair. Care should be taken to ensure that there is no suggestion of bias. This can be achieved by careful casting and ensuring the presenter/interviewer is properly briefed to conduct a robust interview.”
As we see, however, ‘Dateline London’ continues to facilitate the mainstreaming of Nabila Ramdani’s anti-Israel smears by providing her with an unchallenged platform from which to repeatedly dispense her politically motivated falsehoods while knowing full well that the object of her calumnies will not have the right of reply.