Independent (Trevor Asserson)

The following BBC Watch reports below were compiled by Mr. Trevor Asserson and colleagues. 

  • The BBC and the Middle East: A Critical Study, 2002. An analysis of BBC coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with assessment of the BBC’s adherence to its own Guidelines – in particular in respect of its obligations of impartiality and accuracy. 
  • The BBC and the Middle East – An Analysis, 2002. An analysis of the BBC’s coverage of the Middle East in its main news programmes on UK television and radio and on the BBC’s main website over a 9-week period from the end of May to the end of July 2002. The content was assessed for compliance with the BBC’s legal obligations of accuracy and impartiality.  
  •  The BBC and the War on Iraq – An Analysis, 2003. This report examines the BBC’s coverage of the war in Iraq. A comparison of the way in which Coalition troops and Israeli troops are reported when dealing with similar military problems provided a rare opportunity to compare like with like. 
  • The BBC and the Middle East: The Documentary Campaign 2000 – 2004, 2004. A study of the subject matter of television documentaries on BBC1 and BBC2 over the period from November 4th 2000 to June 7th  2004 – corresponding approximately with the period of the (second) Intifada – and their negative or positive impressions of one or other party to the conflict. The report also considers how much airtime the Israeli-Palestinian conflict enjoys compared with other humanitarian and political issues around the world. 
  • Pictures of Prejudice – A Pictorial Analysis of the BBC Website, 2005. A study of six months of pictures from the “world in pictures” section of the BBC website shows a systematic tendency to select pictures which tend to demonise Israelis as militaristic, faceless and cruel and to romanticize the vision of Palestinians. This report also contains an interview with the editor of the website who admits that the pictures are selected without any editorial analysis or control to prevent bias. 
  • The BBC Goes Native: A Study of BBC Arabic, 2008. This report analyses four weeks of reporting during the 2nd Lebanon War in 2006 as broadcast by BBC Arabic. The report classifies the programme guests in terms of their political leanings. It finds that BBC Arabic has a marked tendency to give air time to representatives of terrorist organizations (Hizbollah) and rogue states (Iran) over the air time given to representatives of Israel.  
  • Jeremy Bowen and the Gaza Conflict, 2009. This report analyses a selection of the contributions to BBC reporting on Operation Cast Lead (December 2008 to January 2009) made by the head of Middle East reporting at the BBC – Jeremy Bowen.