On April 30th the BBC News website published a report that now goes under the headline “Syria war: Missile strikes on military sites ‘kill pro-Assad fighters’“. Later versions of that article were amended to include an insert of commentary from “Ali Hashem, Iranian affairs correspondent, BBC Arabic, Beirut”.
As can be seen in his ‘Linkedin’ profile, Ali Hashem joined BBC Arabic in February of this year – but not for the first time: he was also with BBC Arabic between 2007 and 2011.
In May 2013 we noted on these pages that prior to being hired by BBC Arabic in 2007, Ali Hashem worked for the Hizballah TV station Al Manar – the self-proclaimed “station of the resistance” – which was declared a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity by the United States during the period of Hashem’s employment. Al Manar was also banned by France on the grounds of its incitement of racial hatred, as well as by Germany and other countries.
Five years ago we noted that:
“The fact that at the time, the BBC apparently did not consider there to be anything inappropriate about recruiting a recent employee of a terrorist organisation’s media arm is frankly amazing, especially as Mr Hashem’s newest gig suggests that his political sympathies and affiliations have not changed vastly since he worked for Hizballah.
One can only hope that the BBC’s Human Resources department has reviewed its hiring policy since then.”
Obviously that is not the case – and that of course means that the reporting on “Iranian affairs” that BBC audiences will be receiving from Ali Hashem will be ‘interesting’.