In late January and early February of this year the BBC devoted quite a lot of reporting to what was described in one programme as “Poland’s controversial WW2 death camps law”.
As was noted here at the time, the BBC elected to present that story largely through the context-free narrow perspective of the objections of Israeli politicians.
When the lower house of the Polish parliament passed amendments to that law on June 27th the BBC News website published a report titled “Poland Holocaust law: Government U-turn on jail threat“.
“When Poland made it a criminal offence this year to accuse it of complicity in Nazi war crimes, there was an outcry in Europe, Israel and the US. […]
Five months later, the right-wing prime minister has moved to change the law to decriminalise the offence, describing it as a “correction”.
An amendment to the Holocaust law was quickly backed by the lower house of parliament and now moves to the Senate.”
A section of the report headed “Why has Poland backtracked on Holocaust law?” explained the move to readers as follows:
“The government was surprised, however, by the widespread outrage the law caused, especially from two key Polish allies, Israel and the US, which saw it as an attempt to deny historical truth and muzzle testimony and research into the period.
The law also provoked a brief explosion of anti-Semitic feeling on social media and elsewhere in Poland.
But it’s the harm the dispute has done to Poland’s relations with the US and Israel that has caused the government to take this step.”
Despite the BBC having reported in early March on “talks in Jerusalem”, readers of this article were not told of the joint statement put out by the Israeli and Polish prime ministers on June 27th or of the fact that – as Ha’aretz reported – task forces established by the two governments brought about in the amendment passed by the Polish parliament.
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Polish counterpart Matthias Morawiecki issued a joint statement on Wednesday, following Poland’s decision to amend a controversial law that criminalized anybody accusing the Polish nation of complicity in Nazi crimes
Netanyahu stated that in recent months Israel had been in contact with Poland about the law and that the two countries reached an agreement on an amended version of the law. “I am pleased that they have decided to completely cancel the clauses that have caused uproar and dissatisfaction in Israel and the international community. […]
Netanyahu added that Israel and Poland had established task forces to reach a compromise acceptable to both countries following Israeli criticism of the law and Polish defense of it.”
Obviously that information is essential to audience understanding of why the Polish government made the “U-turn” described in this report’s headline.