Readers may recall that on June 6th the BBC News website published an article concerning the cancellation of a friendly football match between Israel and Argentina. The cancellation was inaccurately framed as being related to “Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza” while assorted threats against the Argentinian team were downplayed or ignored.
BBC Watch submitted a complaint concerning that report and – almost a month later – has now received the following reply.
“Thank you for getting in touch about our article reporting that Argentina cancelled a football World Cup warm-up match with Israel (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-44378669) and please accept our apologies for the delay in our response.
Our article does mention the threats but after investigating further we have amended the headline and added a paragraph to reflect the further background to the campaign.
We have also added a correction note at the bottom of the article which outlines these changes.
We hope you’ll find this satisfactory and thank you once again for getting in touch.”
The claim that “our article does mention the threats” does not reflect the fact that the “mention” was added eleven hours after the report’s initial publication and that it is composed of a quote from the Israel Football Association relating solely to statements made by the PA’s Jibril Rajoub. The threats against the team at their training site in Barcelona were not reported.
Nevertheless, the article’s headline has now been changed from “Argentina cancels Israel World Cup friendly after Gaza violence” to “Argentina scraps Israel World Cup friendly after campaign“.
The added paragraphs read:
“The international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which campaigns for a complete boycott of Israel over its policies towards the Palestinians, had called on Argentina not to play against Israel, even before the venue moved from Haifa to Jerusalem.
The campaign escalated after Israel switched the venue to Jerusalem, which Israel regards as its capital and whose eastern part the Palestinians seek as the capital of a future Palestinian state.”
The footnote informs BBC audiences that:
However, the continuing absence of a dedicated corrections page on the BBC News website of course means that anyone who read this article during the four weeks since its initial publication will be unlikely to know that it promoted a misleading view of the story.