BBC News report on US aid cut excludes relevant context

On August 24th the BBC News website published a relatively short report titled “US to cut $200m aid to Gaza and West Bank” on its Middle East page.

Readers were told that:

“US President Donald Trump has ordered more than $200m (£155m) in economic aid which was to be allocated to Gaza and the West Bank be redirected elsewhere.

A State Department official said the decision was made after a review “to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with US national interests”. […]

…the US official said the decision took into account “the challenges the international community faces in providing assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza’s citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation”.”

Referring to another story from January of this year, the article also reminded readers that:

“It [the US] has already withheld $65m from the UN relief agency for the Palestinians.”

As readers may recall, that story received very generous BBC coverage at the time.

BBC WS listeners get a homogeneous view of US aid to Palestinians – part one

BBC WS listeners get a homogeneous view of US aid to Palestinians – part two

BBC News report on UNRWA funding story omits relevant background

BBC WS Newsday coverage of UNRWA aid story – part one

BBC WS Newsday coverage of UNRWA aid story – part two

Falsehoods go uncontested on BBC World Service – part one

Falsehoods go uncontested on BBC World Service – part two

BBC’s Yolande Knell amplifies UNRWA’s PR campaign

BBC WS facilitates UNRWA PR yet again – part one

BBC WS facilitates UNRWA PR again – part two

The background to the latest announcement from the US State Department was presented as follows:

“Relations between the Palestinians and the US have been difficult since Mr Trump took power.

They hit a low point after the US recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017. As a result, the Palestinians said the US was unable to continue its mediation role in the peace process and suspended contact.”

The BBC’s report does not tell readers that in January a review of US aid was ordered in light of Palestinian reactions to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“US President Donald Trump has ordered his administration to review aid to the Palestinians and to the international bodies that sustain them, weighing a significant cut if Palestinian leadership refuses to enter serious peace talks with Israel, a senior administration official said on Thursday.”

The BBC article goes on:

“The US administration, meanwhile, suspended aid to the Palestinians pending a review in the light of the Taylor Force Act back in June.

The act aimed to force the Palestinian Authority to cease paying stipends to families of individuals convicted of terrorism against Israel.”

The BBC News website did not report on the Taylor Force Act when it was passed in March (rather than June) and so readers would be unlikely to be aware of the fact that it relates exclusively to funding that comes from the Economic Support Fund (ESF) which just one of three categories of US aid to Palestinians. Last month visitors to the BBC News website found the first reference to that legislation and were told that:

“In March, the US Congress approved similar legislation, the Taylor Force Act, which suspends some US financial aid to the PA until it stops making payments to prisoners and their families. The act was named after an American killed in an attack by a Palestinian in Israel in 2016.”

However, BBC audiences have not seen any meaningful coverage of the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to stop paying salaries to terrorists even in light of that policy’s negative effect on its finances and aid donations to Palestinians.

Significantly, visitors to the BBC News website also did not see any reporting on the transfer of an estimated $42 million of US aid to the Palestinian Authority when it emerged at the beginning of this month.

“The Trump administration recently released millions of dollars of frozen aid money to the Palestinian Authority, but only for Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation, The Times of Israel learned on Thursday.

While Washington says it will continue to review its assistance to the Palestinians, it chose to allocate specific funds for the current fiscal year to specific PA programs that ostensibly serve American interests, including terrorist prevention measures in the territories, an official said. […]

“This assistance underpins Palestinian Authority security cooperation with Israel, which remains in force despite recent tensions,” the official added. “This decision does not in any way prejudge the outcome of our review of other funding streams and programs. It is simply the first decision to emerge from the review, which is ongoing.””

While readers of this BBC report are told that the US is now redirecting “more than $200m (£155m) in economic aid” that had previously been allocated for use by the end of September and that the US “already withheld $65m from the UN relief agency for the Palestinians”, they were not provided with the broader context available on a US State Department interactive webpage: the fact that in 2018 the US has donated well over $92 million to projects in PA and Hamas controlled areas.

 

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BBC Sport report amplifies bizarre Palestinian FA claims

As readers no doubt recall, back in June the BBC News website published a report on the cancellation of a friendly football match between Israel and Argentina which falsely promoted the notion of its linkage to events along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel while avoiding relevant background to the story that was seen in a report from a different BBC department.

How BBC News framed the Argentina-Israel football match story

Four weeks later, following communication from BBC Watch, some amendments were made to that report.

As was noted here at the time, the BBC did not produce any follow-up reporting on that story after FIFA announced that it had begun disciplinary proceedings against the Palestinian Football Association head, Jibril Rajoub, in relation to his call to Lionel Messi’s fans in “Arab states, Islamic states, in Asia, in Africa, and in states that are friends of the Palestinian people” to burn replica shirts and photographs “and renounce him”.

On August 24th FIFA announced the result of that disciplinary and the following day a report appeared on the BBC Sport website, initially under the rather confusing headline “Lionel Messi: Palestinian FA president Jibril Rajoub banned for ‘inciting hatred and violence’” and illustrated using an image showing political graffiti. The same report was also published on the BBC News website’s Middle East page. 

Sixty-one of the report’s 298 words related to FIFA’s decision.

“Fifa has given the president of the Palestinian Football Association a 12-month suspension after he urged fans to burn Lionel Messi shirts and pictures.

Jibril Rajoub has also been fined 20,000 Swiss francs (£15,826) for “inciting hatred and violence” with statements made before a friendly between Argentina and Israel. […]

Rajoub will not be able to attend football matches in any capacity.”

The background to the June cancellation was given in thirty-eight words – including a link to the BBC News website’s report on the story.

“The match was due to take place in June in Jerusalem but was then cancelled. […]

In June, Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie had said he believed his country’s footballers “were not willing to play the game” against Israel.”

Once again BBC audiences were not provided with the context to Mr Faurie’s words.

“Faurie said players had received threats over playing the game and were uncomfortable with it going ahead.

He also cited jerseys stained with red paint resembling blood which had been displayed at a protest outside the team’s practice facility in Barcelona Tuesday as a cause for concern.”

The Palestinian Football Association’s reaction to the June cancellation was portrayed in forty-nine words and that of the Israel Football Association in forty-three words.

The report’s remaining 107 words – i.e. 35.7% of its content – were given over to uncritical amplification of some decidedly bizarre remarks from the Palestinian Football Association concerning its president’s suspension.

BBC audiences were not told what the phrase ‘”some settler extremist group” who “reside, illegally, in the Palestinian occupied territories”‘ is supposed to mean or what is its relevance to the story. Neither were they informed that what is opaquely described as ‘media statements made by Rajoub to a Lebanese media channel in 2013’ in fact refers to an interview with Al Mayadeen in which Rajoub said “We [the Palestinians] as yet don’t have a nuke, but I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning”.

How the generous yet uncritical amplification of those statements from the Palestinian Football Association can be claimed to enhance audience understanding of the story is of course unclear.

Related Articles:

How BBC News framed the Argentina-Israel football match story

BBC amends misleading Argentina match report after complaint

Weekend long read

1) At the Jerusalem Post Adam Milstein writes about “The Grave Danger of Media Bias“.

“We must hold the media accountable for honest reporting. We must reject and condemn stories that spread inaccurate information and newspapers that fail to broadcast corrections as dramatically as they broadcast untruths. If journalists fail to understand that antisemitism is a deeply embedded bigotry that persistently impacts their understanding of the world – and a hatred that is central to Hamas’ political actions – they cannot accurately report on actions at the Gaza-Israel border. A story pinning the death of an innocent Palestinian baby on Israeli soldiers should raise a red flag. Journalists must present facts and a careful understanding of the nuances that shade coverage of complex situations. A headline taken out of context should not be tolerated.”

2) Writing at ‘Foreign Policy’, James Bloodworth explains how “Labour’s New Anti-Semitism Has Disturbingly Old Roots“.

“The conspiratorial beliefs of the new cranks have combined with an older form of anti-Semitism emanating from the most unreconstructed reaches of the old left. Labour’s current leadership drips with nostalgia for the days of Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev. Corbyn has never been a full-throated apologist for the Soviet Union, but two of his most influential confidants—trade unionist and former Stop the War chair Andrew Murray and Seumas Milne, Corbyn’s spin doctor—certainly are.

Their influence sets the foreign-policy tone in the leader’s office. Israel is viewed through the old Soviet lens. Zionism equals racism, my enemy’s enemy is my friend, and indiscriminate violence by an oppressed nation should be supported, because the ends justify the means. Those beliefs have blurred into conspiratorialism in the past. During the 1970s, Soviet authorities, steeped in the old-fashioned Russian anti-Semitism, published “anti-Zionist” books that promoted the claims of a “Zionist-controlled” media and described Zionism as a variant of fascism, arguments still popular among some of Corbyn’s supporters today.”

3) The JCPA’s Yoni Ben Menachem discusses terrorism in Jordan.

“It now appears that the terrorists of radical jihadist Islam are again cropping up in Jordan for a new wave of attacks on the security establishment and that the aim is to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom. On August 11, 2018, an explosive device was planted in a Jordanian police vehicle in the town of Fuheis. The blast killed a policeman and wounded six others.

A quick investigation led to the terror gang’s hideout in a building in the city of Salt. The siege on the building lasted several hours. When the security forces tried to break into the building, the terrorists set off explosive devices they had planted in advance; the building collapsed on the terrorists and security forces.”

4) Also from the JCPA comes a collection of essays titled “Defeating Denormalization – Shared Palestinian and Israeli Perspectives on a New Path to Peace“.

“The Palestinian leadership’s strategy of “denormalization of relations” with Israel is one of the central, if lesser understood, components of the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. Denormalization may be an unfamiliar term to Western observers of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Conceptually, it is modeled after the international anti-normalization campaign that brought about the collapse of the former South African apartheid regime in 1994. […]

While the PA leadership has positioned BDS and its denormalization corollary as a grassroots campaign to pressure Israel to concede to Palestinian political demands, this campaign does not represent the attitudes or interests of the average Palestinian. In fact, some 150,000 Palestinians who are employed either in the Palestinian-Israeli West Bank industrial zones or in Israel are generally unaware of and uninterested in the international BDS and denormalization campaign.

The articles in this collection reveal the demand among a growing number of Palestinians for engagement and opportunity together with their Israeli neighbors.”

 

 

BBC News ignores UN Secretary General’s Gaza proposals

Last month viewers of the BBC programme ‘Hardtalk’ heard from the PLO’s envoy to the UN that the UN Secretary General was due to present a report.

Riyad Mansour: “And then we went to the General Assembly and we have a resolution that was adopted by 120 countries versus 8 calling for providing international protection for the civilian population in the occupied Palestinian territory and the Secretary General was asked to submit a report with recommendations and suggestions to provide protection for the civilian population – the Palestinian civilian population – including international protection mechanism and he has until the 13th of next month to submit that report. We are engaging his teams with ideas and suggestions to fulfil such a demand for providing protection for the civilian population under Israeli occupation.”

BBC audiences were not told either at the time or in that ‘Hardtalk’ programme that the UN GA’s June 13thresolution titled “Protection of the Palestinian civilian population” was adopted:

“…following the Assembly’s rejection of a United States-sponsored amendment — by a vote of 78 against to 59 in favour, with 26 abstentions — which would have condemned Hamas for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and inciting violence along the boundary fence.  It would have demanded that Hamas cease all violent activity and expressed grave concern over the destruction of the Kerem Shalom crossing by actors in Gaza.”

On August 17th the UN Secretary General presented his report.

“Guterres outlined four options, but he did not make a specific recommendation. He noted that all options would need the cooperation of both parties, a sustained cessation of hostilities and additional resources to ensure they were viable. […]

Armed UN peacekeepers or armed forces from a group of like-minded states operating under a United Nations mandate could be deployed to offer physical protection, Guterres said. This option, however, would need a Security Council mandate and the United States, a close ally of Israel, would likely wield its veto.

A UN or non-UN civilian observer mission could be deployed “with a specific mandate to report on protection and well-being issues and provide local mediation,” Guterres said. This would also need a UN-mandate.

A third option could be expanding current UN programs and development and humanitarian aid to address the needs of Palestinian civilians more effectively and strengthen Palestinian institutions, he wrote.

The final option could be to send additional UN human rights, coordination and political officers to boost monitoring and reporting on the situation and increase the UN’s visibility, Guterres said.”

Ignoring the fact that the terrorist organisation that rules the Gaza Strip and initiated the violence that is the topic of the UN GA resolution that required his writing of this report has absolutely no intention of making peace with Israel, Guterres said:

“The best way to ensure the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population is still the negotiation of a comprehensive, just and final settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict”

Curiously, BBC audiences have not seen any coverage of that report from the UN Secretary General – or the criticisms that followed. Writing at Ha’aretz, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner noted for example that:

“…the idea of a UN military or police force to deter or protect civilians is useless in the Palestinian arena due to the already highly politicized reality. Israel has learned that it cannot depend on international forces like UNIFIL and UNDOF for its security concerns.”

Obviously should any of Guterres’ proposals be translated into practical steps, BBC audiences will be lacking in the background information which would enable them to “engage fully” with that story.

 

 

 

 

 

BBC audiences again get news from a political NGO

As is usually the case in BBC News website reports that come under the category of ethically selective interest in Israeli planning permits’, the prime source quoted and promoted in the August 22nd article headlined “Israel advances plans for 1,000 new West Bank settler homes” was a political NGO. The report opened:

“Israel has advanced plans to build more than 1,000 new homes in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Final approval for construction was given for 382 homes, while the others cleared an earlier planning stage.”

Readers were then provided with a link to the website of the political NGO ‘Peace Now’.

“Anti-settlement watchdog Peace Now said most would be built in communities that were likely to be evacuated as part of any peace deal with the Palestinians.”

A click on that link shows that the irrelevant claim which the BBC chose to promote is based on the ‘Geneva Initiative’ which has gone nowhere since its conception fifteen years ago. The BBC did not bother to inform readers of additional past proposals under which that claim would not necessarily be accurate and, as ever, the fact that in the past Israel evacuated communities in 1982 as part of the terms of the peace agreement with Egypt and evacuated all Israeli citizens from the Gaza Strip and from four communities in northern Samaria in 2005 was ignored by the anonymous writer of this report.

Readers were also told that:

“Peace Now reported that 370 of the homes given initial approval would be built in the settlement of Adam, where an Israeli civilian was stabbed to death and two others wounded by a Palestinian last month.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman had promised to build 400 units there in response to the attack.”

Once again BBC audiences were not told that the “400 units” concerned are part of already existing planning that was in the process before the Minister of Defence made his statement.

In addition to the messaging from ‘Peace Now’, readers found statements from a variety of sources promoting the political narrative that Israeli communities are a barrier to peace.

“But a left-wing Israeli party, Meretz, warned that the decision was like “sticking a finger in the eye” of any possible peace process.

There was no immediate response from the Palestinian Authority to the announcement, but it has previously said settlement construction threatens peace and undermines the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. […]

Donald Trump said earlier this year that the settlements “complicate” the peace process and urged Israel to be “careful” over the issue.

His predecessor Barack Obama said they were incompatible with a two-state solution and did not veto a 2016 UN Security Council resolution declaring they had “no legal validity and constitute[d] a flagrant violation under international law”.”

Altogether, those amplified statements made up 50% of the report’s word-count. In contrast, readers saw 23 words presenting what might be categorised as a contrasting view.

“The main body representing Jewish settlers – the Yesha Council – expressed disappointment that plans for “so few” homes were approved on Wednesday.”

As is inevitably the case in BBC News website reporting on the topic of construction in the neighbourhoods and communities it terms ‘settlements‘, audiences found the standard BBC insert on ‘international law’ which makes no attempt to inform them of legal views on the topic that fall outside the corporation’s chosen political narrative.

“The settlements are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem – land the Palestinians claim for a future state.

There are also some 100 outposts – small settlements built without the Israeli government’s authorisation – across the West Bank.”

The BBC’s editorial guidelines on ‘controversial subjects’ state:

“When dealing with ‘controversial subjects’, we must ensure a wide range of significant views and perspectives are given due weight and prominence, particularly when the controversy is active.  Opinion should be clearly distinguished from fact.”

The BBC’s audiences are however serially denied the “wide range of significant views and perspectives” which would broaden their understanding of this issue because the BBC has instead elected to promote a specific narrative.

Related Articles:

BBC News website misleads on construction plans

Why is this Israeli planning decision different from others for the BBC?

The Jerusalem building permits the BBC didn’t report

More partial reporting on Israeli building permits from BBC News

Examining the BBC’s claim that Israeli building endangers the two state solution

‘Due impartiality’ and BBC reporting on Israeli construction

 

 

 

BBC World Service promotes standard narrative on Jews from Arab lands

The BBC’s public purposes – as laid out in the Royal Charter – include “[t]o support learning for people of all ages”.

“…the BBC should help everyone learn about different subjects in ways they will find accessible, engaging, inspiring and challenging.”

One topic on which the BBC has done little to help enhance its audience’s knowledge is that of the history of Jews from Arab lands.

On August 13th BBC World Service radio aired a repeat edition of ‘Heart and Soul’ titled “Morocco’s Jews: Hospitality or Hostility?“.

“Morocco’s Jewish community was once the biggest in the Muslim world. More than a quarter of a million Jews called the North African country home. Most Moroccan Jews left after the establishment of Israel in 1940s and 50s. The understanding between the two religious communities, who used to live side by side, has slowly been forgotten.

Young people especially feel a growing disconnect with the communities of the past. Many Muslim Moroccan’s [sic] are bringing a middle eastern Islam to the country; different to Morocco’s traditionally Sufi inspired moderate version of the faith

Nina Robinson asks what the future will be for the co-existence of Muslim and Jewish communities in this unique Muslim country?”

Given that synopsis, one would have expected the background to the exodus of Jews from Morocco to be accurately and fully explained to BBC audiences and indeed that topic was raised by Nina Robinson at 16:23 minutes into the programme.

Robinson: “…an important question remains: if life was always so harmonious, why did most of the Jewish people leave?”

Listeners then heard from interviewee Joseph Sebag – sometimes dubbed ‘the last Jew in Essaouira’.

Sebag: “Every family has reasons, personal reasons, to stay or leave for political reasons, for ideological reasons. They wanted not necessarily to leave but to be buried in the holy land. But there was Zionism movement that infiltrated the community and created what we say psychose [psychosis] that they scared the local people and a lot of Jews left because of that. In 1948 a lot of Jews, Orthodox Jews, have left to Israel and then you have the 6 Day War as they call it and in ’73 the Yom Kippur war. These are the three major dates in the Moroccan Jewry.”

In other words, according to the account presented to BBC World Service radio listeners, the fact that the overwhelming majority of Moroccan Jews upped and left the country inhabited by their ancestors for hundreds or even thousands of years had nothing at all to do with conditions in Morocco and everything to do with Israel and false scares “created” by ‘Zionist infiltrators’.

BBC audiences have of course heard in the past similar portrayals of Jews living harmoniously in Arab lands until Zionism and Israel came along but unfortunately for those hoping to learn about the topic, that narrative is inaccurate.

The Jewish community in Morocco had suffered periodic pogroms and forced conversions throughout history, including in the 18th and 19th centuries and in the early 20th century tens of Jewish families from Morocco had already emigrated to what was at the time Ottoman ruled Palestine. One event which was still within living memory at the time when the significant exodus of Jews from Morocco began was the pogrom in Fez in 1912. During World War Two, Morocco – at the time a French protectorate – came under pro-Nazi Vichy rule and Jews were subjected to anti-Jewish legislation.

Following a serious episode of anti-Jewish violence in Oujda and Jerada in June 1948, thousands of Jews emigrated. As Morocco moved towards independence in late 1955, new fears arose within the Jewish community and indeed between 1956 and 1961 Moroccan Jews were prohibited from emigrating to Israel. In the three years following the lifting of that ban, a further 80,000 Jews left Morocco for Israel.

None of that obviously relevant background was however included in Nina Robinson’s programme and so BBC World Service audiences were once again steered towards the inaccurate belief that – just as they have in the past been told happened in Libya, Tunisia and Iraq – Moroccan Jews lived in perfect harmony with their Muslim neighbours until the creation of Israel.

 

 

 

PA TV executives reveal goals of station partnered by BBC charity

Readers may recall that back in 2016 we noted the existence of a project run by the BBC’s international development charity ‘BBC Media Action’ and BBC Arabic in partnership with the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) between 2012 and 2016.

The BBC charity’s partnership with terror glorifying PA media

“The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) is controlled by the Palestinian Authority and its television (PA TV) and radio (Voice of Palestine) stations are the PA’s official media channels.

…both those stations have a long record of broadcasting material which negates Israel’s existence (including on children’s programmes), glorifies terrorism, spreads incitement, promotes antisemitic tropes and hate speechpropagates falsehoods about Israel and denies and distorts the Holocaust.”

A blog post written in 2013 (which includes a shout-out to Manal Tamimi – known for her Tweets lauding and encouraging Palestinian violence) by a person who was at the time employed at the BBC Media Action Ramallah office as a social media specialist states that in addition to producing content together with the PBC, the BBC charity also helped the corporation expand its presence on social media.

“Our social media team is working hand in hand with the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation to develop the station’s Facebook page, and we are creating social media guidelines for the station, as well as using social media for production. Over the past six months Palestine TV’s Facebook page has seen rising numbers of fans and increasingly professional content.”

Recently two senior PBC officials provided some background (translated by Palestinian Media Watch) concerning the goals of the TV station with which BBC Media Action found it appropriate to collaborate over a period of several years.

In other words, a TV station that is described by its director as “a media outlet with a national cause” and portrayed by one of its senior executives as “a central part of the…struggle” was nevertheless chosen to partner a BBC charity funded to no small extent by the UK tax-payer.

Related Articles:

The BBC, the British Council and BDS: what Simon Cox didn’t report

The BBC World Service, the partner radio station and the terror-glorifying cartoon

The BBC charity’s partnership with terror glorifying PA media

Breaches of the BBC Academy ‘style guide’ continue

As we have had cause to note on several occasions in recent months, the BBC Academy’s “journalists’ guide to facts and terminology” (published in the wake of the 2006 Thomas Report on the impartiality of BBC coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict) states:

“There is no independent state of Palestine today, although the stated goal of the peace process is to establish a state of Palestine alongside a state of Israel.

In November 2012 the PLO secured a vote at the UN General Assembly, upgrading its previous status as an “entity” so that the UN now recognises the territories as “non-member observer state”.

The change allows the Palestinians to participate in UN General Assembly debates. It also improves the Palestinians’ chances of joining UN agencies.

But the UN vote has not created a state of Palestine (rather, it failed in its bid to join the UN as a full member state in 2011 because of a lack of support in the Security Council).

So, in day-to-day coverage of the Middle East you should not affix the name ‘Palestine’ to Gaza or the West Bank – rather, it is still an aspiration or an historical entity.

But clearly BBC journalists should reflect the changed circumstances when reporting on the UN itself and at the Olympics, where the International Olympics Committee recognises Palestine as a competing nation.

Best practice is to use the term Palestine firmly and only in the context of the organisation in which it is applicable, just as the BBC did at the Olympics – for example: “At the UN, representatives of Palestine, which has non-member observer status…”” [emphasis added]

Over the past few months BBC audiences have heard both contributors and BBC journalists refer to ‘Palestine’ with increasing frequency – for example:

BBC amends style-guide breach in R4 synopsis

Hamas ‘Hardtalk’ interview rebuts BBC messaging, perpetuates inaccuracies – part one

BBC R4 FOOC report on Palestinian music promotes one-sided politics

Inaccuracy, omission and oddity in a BBC Radio Ulster item on Israel – part two

BBC R4 airs partisan portrayal of Jenin masked as ‘entertainment’

Another example of BBC journalists ignoring their own corporation’s definition of best practice was heard in the August 20th edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour‘ when, during an item concerning the death of Uri Avnery (from 38:15 here), presenter Paul Henley asked his Israeli interviewee:

Henley: “Do you think he was disappointed that his vision for peace between Israel and Palestine was not achieved in his lifetime?”

As the BBC Academy rightly notes, “[t]here is no independent state of Palestine today, although the stated goal of the peace process is to establish a state of Palestine alongside a state of Israel”.

Nevertheless, BBC journalists continue to refer to a non-existent state – paradoxically even while discussing the failure of the process which has to date not brought it into being.  

BBC Complaints ‘runs out of time’

Included in the BBC’s revised complaints procedure that was finalised and published in October 2016 are clauses relating to time frameworks:

“The BBC aims to reply within 10 working days of receipt of your complaint though some complaints may take longer than others to investigate.”

And:

“Normally Ofcom will consider relevant complaints only if the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the BBC process; if, in light of the outcome, the complainant considers that Ofcom should impose a sanction; or if the BBC has failed to reach a conclusion within the time period set in these procedures.” [emphasis added]

Visitors to the BBC Complaints website are told that:

“If you complain in writing we post or email over 90% of our replies within 2 weeks. […]

It can take longer to reply to other complaints, depending on the issue being investigated or how many others we have. Sometimes a delay may be due to practical reasons. For example a production team may already be working on another programme or have gone on location. […]

We aim to deal with your complaint fairly, quickly and satisfactorily. We are required by our Royal Charter to have a complaints framework which provides “transparent, accessible, effective, timely and proportionate methods” of making sure we are meeting our obligations and fixing problems.”

In the past two months BBC Watch has seen three separate instances in which BBC Complaints has not addressed the issues raised within the time frame and has for all intents and purposes thereby effectively closed down the complaint.

Receipt of a complaint submitted on June 24th was acknowledged on the same day. On July 2nd BBC Complaints informed us that it was going to need more time to deal with the complaint.

On July 21st BBC Complaints stated that it had not managed to resolve the complaint within the designated time limit.

We have heard nothing further from BBC Complaints on that topic since.

The same pattern was subsequently repeated in relation to two additional complaints. 

We would be very interested to hear from any readers with similar experiences in the comments below.

 

 

BBC News website’s SodaStream report sidesteps its own previous reporting

On August 20th the BBC News website published a report headlined “PepsiCo buys Sodastream for $3.2bn” on its Business and Middle East pages.

“PepsiCo has announced it is buying Sodastream for $3.2bn (£2.5bn).

Israel-based Sodastream makes a machine and refillable cylinders allowing users to make their own carbonated drinks. […]

PepsiCo will buy all outstanding shares of Sodastream for $144 each – almost 11% higher than its closing price in New York on Friday.

The stock has soared 85% this year after rising by 78% in 2017.

The takeover has already been approved by the boards of both firms. […]

If regulators approve the deal, it is expected to be finalised by January 2019, subject to a vote by Sodastream shareholders.”

Readers were not informed that SodaStream’s operations in Israel will continue as usual for at least 15 years. Neither were they informed that PepsiCo only entered the Israeli market in 1992, having previously conformed to the Arab League boycott.

Interestingly, the BBC’s report also refrained from mentioning that just four years ago, SodaStream was targeted by anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigners including a political NGO – a campaign which was vigorously amplified on the BBC News website and on other platforms in early 2014.

BBC News recycles second-hand SodaStream slur, fails to explain BDS

BBC displays its campaigning colours in SodaStream story coverage

As was noted here at the time:

“As its coverage of this story shows, the BBC has abandoned its role as a provider of news and information regarding the anti-Israel BDS movement and emphatically tied its colours to the campaigning mast.”

Related Articles:

Bolstering and airbrushing BDS on BBC WS ‘Business Matters’ – part one