Revisiting the BBC’s policy on naming and personalising victims of terror

Earlier this month the trial of one of the two terrorists who carried out an attack on a Jerusalem bus last October in which three Israelis were murdered and dozens injured came to a close.

“A Jerusalem court on Monday sentenced an East Jerusalem terrorist to three consecutive life sentences and an additional 60 years in prison for killing three people in an attack on a bus in the capital last October.

Last month, Bilal Abu Ghanem was convicted of three counts of murder, seven counts of attempted murder and aiding the enemy in wartime for his role in killing three people in a terror attack on a bus in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood.”

As readers may recall the BBC News website reported the murders of Chaim Haviv and Alon Govberg but did not name them or provide any other personal details. The death of a third victim of the same bus attack – Richard Lakin – two weeks later did not receive any BBC coverage at all.

In another trial this month:

“A Palestinian man who stabbed two Israelis to death in Tel Aviv last year was convicted by the Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday on two counts of murder and three of attempted murder after confessing to the charges.

Raed Masalmeh, 36, a father of five from the Hebron-area town of Dura in the West Bank, previously pleaded not guilty to murdering Reuven Aviram and Aharon Yesiav in a Tel Aviv office building synagogue on November 19, 2015.”

The BBC News website reported that attack, together with another one on the same day, but once again the victims were not named. There has been no BBC reporting on either of these trials.Istanbul attack victims

After last November’s terror attacks in Paris, the BBC News website produced an article paying tribute to the people murdered and that practice of naming, personalising and humanising victims of terror attacks has since continued.

BBC audiences have learned about victims of the March 2016 attack at Brussels airport and the June 2016 attacks in Orlando and at Istanbul airport. In July 2016 the BBC News website made efforts to personalise victims of terror in Baghdad, in Kabul, in Nice and in Munich. Five policemen killed in a shooting attack in Dallas were the subject of an article titled “Dallas police shootings: Who are the victims?“.

However, for BBC audiences the vast majority of terror victims in Israel remain faceless and in very many cases such as those noted above, even nameless.  

Reviewing BBC reporting of vehicular attacks in France and Israel

After a shaky start, BBC News was soon able to provide its audiences with an accurate description of the horrendous attack on Bastille Day revellers in Nice on the evening of July 14th.

Attack Nice Tweet 1

Attack Nice Tweet 2

BBC News website 'World' page

BBC News website ‘World’ page

BBC News website 'Europe' page

BBC News website ‘Europe’ page

Terror attacks using vehicles have not been afforded the same clarity of description by the BBC when perpetrated against Israelis.

In August 2014 BBC News reported a “Suspected ‘attack’ on bus with digger in Jerusalem”.

Bus Reynolds filmed

On October 22nd 2014 a vehicular attack in Jerusalem in which two people were murdered was described as a “car ‘attack'”.Pigua Jerusalem version 2

 

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BBC reports on vehicular attack in Jerusalem on November 5th 2014 in which two people were murdered were headlined “Driver hits pedestrians in East Jerusalem” and a follow-up report described a “van attack”.

Pigua 5 11 report

Pigua 5 11 2nd victim

A fatal vehicular attack in Jerusalem on April 15th 2015 did not receive any coverage from the BBC and neither did a fatal vehicular attack at Halhoul Junction on November 4th of that year. Numerous additional attacks have either been ignored or reported without use of the word terror. In one case, not only did the BBC not tell audiences that a terror attack had taken place but even amplified anonymous hearsay suggesting it had not.

Once again the BBC’s double standards when reporting terrorism are all too apparent.

Related Articles:

Radio 4 gives insight into BBC avoidance of the use of the term ‘terror’ in Israel

BBC Complaints: terror attacks in Jerusalem and Tunisia are “very different”

The BBC, terrorism and ‘consistency’