BBC unusually passes up on amplifying HRW’s latest report

One of the political NGOs most frequently quoted and promoted in BBC Middle East coverage – even on issues in which it is not involved and despite the fact that it engages in lawfare against Israel  – is Human Rights Watch (HRW). In particular, the BBC tends to put out rapid amplification of the content of reports produced by HRW, no matter how dubious their methodology. Examples from the last two years alone include:No news

BBC shoehorns partisan political NGO into report on policeman’s promotion

Predictable BBC amplification for latest HRW anti-Israel report

More uncritical amplification of a HRW report from BBC News

BBC News does its convincing impression of HRW PR department yet again

More BBC promotion and amplification of lawfare NGO

BBC audiences again fobbed off with HRW press release presented as ‘news’

HRW recently released another one of its reports which was summed up by AP as follows:

“Human Rights Watch said both the Western-backed Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and its rival, the ruling Islamic militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, are “arresting, abusing, and criminally charging journalists and activists who express peaceful criticism of the authorities.” […]

HRW said that in the West Bank, Palestinian forces arrested activists and musicians who “ridiculed Palestinian security forces” and “accused the government of corruption” in statements posted on Facebook or stated in graffiti and rap songs.

In Gaza, the rights group said an activist who criticized Hamas for “failing to protect a man with a mental disability” was detained and intimidated by the group, as was a journalist who “posted a photograph of a woman looking for food in a garbage bin.”

The New York-based rights group said that in the incidents of abuse, “activists and journalists said that security officers beat or kicked them, deprived them of sleep and proper food, hosed them with cold and then hot water, and made them maintain uncomfortable positions for long hours.””

It is worth noting for the record that, in contrast to its usual practice and despite its record of campaigning on the issue of safety of journalists, the BBC has to date not produced an article amplifying this latest HRW report.

Related Articles:

Reviewing BBC News coverage of internal Palestinian affairs

 

BBC ignores attack on journalists in Hebron

Over the past few months and weeks BBC audiences have been presented with extensive coverage on all BBC outlets of the trial and sentencing of three Al Jazeera journalists in an Egyptian court – including on the BBC News website’s Middle East page. A BBC-led campaign on the issue has also been promoted heavily, including by BBC employees on social media.

Greste story on ME pge

In April of this year the BBC Media Centre published a “Joint statement issued at the BBC’s Safety of Journalists Symposium” which included these words:

“In too many countries journalists are facing serious intimidation and violence, which in turns leads to disturbing patterns of censorship and self-censorship. We stand against these abuses and today we call on the governments concerned to investigate each one of those crimes promptly and effectively so as to bring those responsible to justice.”

All the more curious, therefore, is the fact that BBC News has completely ignored a story from June 20th involving the attack by members of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces on CNN journalists covering a pro-Hamas demonstration in Hebron.

Related Articles:

Where’s the BBC coverage? Journalists beaten up in Beitunia

Where’s the BBC coverage? Journalists beaten up in Beitunia

On April 7th 2014 the BBC Media Centre published a “Joint statement issued at the BBC’s Safety of Journalists Symposium” which, inter alia, included the following:BBC Media Centre

“In too many countries journalists are facing serious intimidation and violence, which in turns leads to disturbing patterns of censorship and self-censorship. We stand against these abuses and today we call on the governments concerned to investigate each one of those crimes promptly and effectively so as to bring those responsible to justice.”

As regular readers of the BBC News website’s Middle East page will know, the subject of abuses against journalists is sadly not an infrequent topic there, with current articles on that page addressing the topic of two Times journalists attacked in Syria and the ongoing trial of the Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt, which has received a lot of BBC coverage. The same issue is also often addressed in other sections of the BBC News website, with some of the more recent reports having come from Hong Kong, Ukraine and Crimea.  

But what happens when the instigators of violence against journalists are members of the same profession? On May 16th two journalists working for the Israeli outlet Walla News were attacked in Beitunia. Avi Issacharoff writes:

“I found myself seconds away from being beaten to death by a mob of Palestinian masked men during clashes in the West Bank town of Beitunia, north of Jerusalem, on Friday

I’m not prone to exaggeration. It was a case of life and death, and I was within moments of falling victim to the kind of lynch that saw two Israeli soldiers who strayed into Ramallah in 2000 beaten to death by a baying mob. […]

I was there to report on the Nakba Day protests with a cameraman colleague from Walla News. He was some distance from me when he was approached by several Palestinian journalists who told him to “Get out.”

I walked toward them, and told them that if they had a problem, they should be talking to me. One of the Palestinian journalists, a young woman, then called over to a group of masked men, who swiftly surrounded me and began attacking me.”

It is worth revisiting an article written by Khaled Abu Toameh just over a year ago on a subject which, despite its clear stance on abuses of journalists elsewhere, the BBC did not see fit to cover at the time.

“In recent weeks, Israeli journalists who cover Palestinian affairs have been facing increased threats from Palestinian reporters.

On a number of occasions, the threats included acts of violence against the Israeli journalists, particularly in Ramallah.

Human rights organizations and groups claiming to defend freedom of media have failed to condemn the campaign of intimidation waged by Palestinian journalists against their Israeli fellow-journalists.

It is one thing when governments and dictators go after journalists, but a completely different thing when journalists start targeting their counterparts.

An Israeli journalist had his microphone damaged during an assault, while another was thrown out of a press conference. Behind the two incidents were Palestinian journalists, angered by the presence of Israelis in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities.

The threats and harassment came as more than 200 Palestinian journalists signed a petition, for the first time ever, calling on the Palestinian Authority to ban Israeli correspondents from operating in its territories “without permission.” “

And there have been additional similar incidents since. 

To date, the attack on Avi Issacharoff and his colleague (which is further detailed in this article) has not been reported by the BBC.