This is a post from CAMERA Arabic
On February 27th and 28th the BBC show ‘Global Questions’ recorded two programmes – the first in English and the second in Arabic – at the YMCA Centre located on King David street in the western part of Jerusalem.
The moderator assigned to the Arabic language panel was BBC Arabic’s Nour Eddine Zorgui.
On March 1st Zorgui tweeted from his official BBC account that he was “in Palestine this time”, adding a link to his Facebook page where at least 3 photos – one of them taken inside the YMCA building – are captioned “in Palestine”.
Zorgui made similar remarks at the February 28th event itself, referring to the city and country he was in as “Jerusalem” and “Palestine” prior to the commencement of recording.
Zorgui’s posts and remarks breach both BBC Academy style guide and BBC guidelines regulating employees’ social media activity which state:
- “In day-to-day coverage of the Middle East you should not affix the name ‘Palestine’ to Gaza or the West Bank”
- “The Green Line marks the boundary between Israel and the West Bank.” (hence according to the BBC’s logic, western Jerusalem is in Israel)
- “The BBC’s reputation for impartiality and objectivity is crucial”
- “Editorial staff and staff in politically sensitive areas should never indicate a political allegiance on social networking sites”
- “Impartiality is a particular concern for those working in News and Current Affairs. Nothing should appear on their personal blogs or microblogs which undermines the integrity or impartiality of the BBC”.
CAMERA Arabic submitted a complaint to BBC, expecting that the network would acknowledge this breach of its own editorial guidelines and act to have Zorgui remove or amend his social media posts. However, since we were informed on March 15th that our complaint “had been referred to the relevant people” and that they “regret that it may take a little longer before they can reply”, at of the time of writing no further response has been received.