Throughout 2019 BBC Watch prompted the following corrections to BBC content on various platforms:
BBC Radio 4 corrected an inaccurate claim concerning Israel’s Christian population.
The BBC Sport website amended a misrepresentation of a statement from Israel’s foreign ministry.
The BBC News website amended claims concerning Lebanese casualties during the Second Lebanon War in three reports.
The BBC News website corrected a report concerning the mixed prayer area at the Western Wall.
BBC Radio 4 apologised for breaching the corporation’s own style guide on the use of the term Palestine.
The BBC News website amended a misleading headline in a profile of Benny Gantz.
The BBC News website corrected three articles in which it was claimed that the Gaza Strip is under the control of the Palestinian Authority.
The BBC News website removed a video in which a false Hamas claim concerning the death of a baby and a pregnant woman in the Gaza Strip was amplified.
The BBC News website corrected a mistranslation in an article about vultures in the Golan Heights.
The BBC News website corrected an inaccurate portrayal of the Jewish day of rest.
The BBC Arabic website removed a Nazi analogy.
The BBC News website removed an inaccurate claim concerning water from a profile of the Golan Heights.
The BBC News website belatedly amended a claim concerning women’s rights in Iran.
The BBC News website corrected a false claim concerning Israel’s extradition policy.
The BBC News website corrected an inaccurate quote from the US Ambassador to Israel.
BBC World Service radio re-edited a programme in which it was claimed that there is a ‘siege’ on the Gaza Strip.
The BBC News website corrected a report in which Binyamin Netanyahu was described as Israel’s president.
BBC Radio 4 corrected an inaccurate claim made by the BBC’s Middle East editor.
The BBC News website corrected an inaccurate portrayal of an Israeli politician.
The BBC News website corrected a misrepresentation of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.
The BBC’s ‘Newsround’ amended a photo feature which breached the corporation’s style guide on the use of the term Palestine.
Once again this year we saw inconsistent use of footnotes to inform audiences of amendments to BBC News website reports and the continued absence of a corrections page on that platform means that those who read reports when they are first published – and are unlikely to revisit them at a later date – all too often remain unaware that information they were given was inaccurate.
Likewise, we saw at least one case this year in which the BBC failed to comply with its own editorial guidelines on “Correcting Mistakes”.
A significant proportion of the complaints submitted by BBC Watch in 2019 did not receive a response in the time frame set by the BBC itself and in some cases a response was not received at all. In August we received a communication from the BBC World Service which included:
“…apologies for evidently yet-to-come replies due to the volume of correspondence and (un)availability of relevant staff. I hope you will understand…”
As we have previously stated:
“Regrettably, in the two and a half years since OFCOM became the BBC’s external regulator BBC Watch has been unable to discern any meaningful improvement in the BBC’s handling of complaints which, in contrast to OFCOM’s opinion, we consider to be far too slow in comparison to other media outlets, cumbersome and lacking transparency.”