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Chris Newman email to BBC: analysis of online articles

 
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David C
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Post Post subject: Chris Newman email to BBC: analysis of online articles Reply with quote

Analysis of BBC articles today
Monday, 5 January, 2009 7:14 PM
From:
"Chris Newman"
To:
info@bbc.co.uk, helenboaden.complaints@bbc.co.uk, jeremy.bowen@bbc.co.uk, steve.herrmann@bbc.co.uk

Dear Ms Boaden, Mr Bowen and


I would like to make a complaint that the BBC News, with specific regard to reporting on Israel and the Occupied Territories, is not meeting the standards required by the Broadcasting Code Section 5: Due Impartiality and Due Accuracy and Undue Prominence of Views and Opinions. Observance of this Code is also required in the case of the BBC by the BBC Agreement.


The Code outlines the meaning of “due imparitality” thus:
“Due” is an important qualification to the concept of impartiality. Impartiality itself means not favouring one side over another. “Due” means adequate or appropriate to the subject and nature of the programme. So “due impartiality” does not mean an equal division of time has to be given to every view, or that every argument and every facet of every argument has to be represented. The approach to due impartiality may vary according to the nature of the subject, the type of programme and channel, the likely expectation of the audience as to content, and the extent to which the content and approach is signalled to the audience. Context, as defined in Section Two: Harm and Offence of the Code, is important."


As such I have begun analysing articles as of this morning and have reviewed 19 articles that are easily found on the BBC website. Due to the time pressure I may have accidentally missed some articles and/or mentions. The articles reviewed are given at the bottom. I have been unable to perform the same for the television news and radio due to lack of resources.


From these articles I have counted the following mentions:


Mentions of refugees of 1948 or 1967, who make up the bulk of the Gaza population and are entitled to right of return under international law– 1 mention in a side article “Who are Hamas”

Mentions of the Occupation of Gaza (as stipulated by the UN it is still occupied) – 2 mentions in a side article “Who are Hamas”

Mention of the democratic Palestinian elections of 2006 – 2 mentions in a side article “Who are Hamas”

Mention of the rejection of Palestinian election results by non-Palestinians – 1, again in “Who are Hamas”

Mention of any of the 69 UN resolutions pertaining to Israel's actions in the region – 0

Mentions of the 2 year long illegal siege of Gaza – 0

Mention of Human Rights – 0

Mentions of West Bank settlements - 0

Mentions of Israeli air attack on Gaza on 4 November killing 6 and ending the ceasefire (sic) - 0

Downplayed or underreported figures for Palestinian civilian casualties – 5

Downplayed or underreported figures for Israeli civilian casualties – 0

Details of Hamas weapons used;

o

numbers - 1 in a detailed table (table has feature in at least one other article which was not included in the 19 due to date).
o

type – 5
o

origin – 6 (references to smuggling and Egyptian border)

Details of Israeli weapons used;

o

numbers -0
o

type - 9
o

origin – 0 – no mention of massive US military aid, direct procurement channels etc

Hamas spokespeople directly or indirectly quoted: 5

Israeli spokespeople directly or indirectly quoted: 9 (figure does not include Peres broadcast)

Hamas rockets given as reason for attack without qualification – 7

Hamas rockets given as reason for attack with qualification – 3

Israeli occupation/siege given as reason for Hamas resistance without qualification – 0

Israeli occupation/siege given as reason for Hamas resistance with qualification – 1

Mentions of Israeli press censorship or restrictions on access – 5 (two in recent diary by Jeremy Bowen. In all other articles mentions were near or at the end)

Mentions of Hamas rocket or missile attacks – 46 (11 of which in one article -Map: Gaza and Israel Conflict)

Mentions of specific Israeli air, sea or land attacks – 50 (17 of which in one article -Map: Gaza and Israel Conflict)


As you can see, if the “Who are Hamas” article is excluded very little context to the foundations of Palestinian resistance is given, and the nature of that article means that these are seriously diluted. The UN has reported that it is the Occupation that is the cause of the Palestinian resistance, and as such these are extremely important points - are are current and relevant.


I think the rest of the figures speak for themselves. I will continue to analyze articles over the coming days and will be looking into the best means of bringing this the attention of Ofcom.


Regards

Chris Newman


Website articles reviewed:
Envoys race to halt Gaza carnage [video and associated test]
Jeremy Bowen: Pride at a cost
In pictures: Gaza offensive
Gaza and Israel under fire [video and associated text]
Paul Reynolds: Diplomacy waits
Hamas set for bitter battle
Mouring the victims [video and associated text]
Map; Attacks day by day
Gaza voices; Water, power cut
Your say: Can there be a truce?
Eyewitness: “we live with worry”
Propaganda war: “trusting what we see?”
Who are Hamas?
Israeli braced for Hamas response
Israeli forces split Gaza in two
Aftermath of Gaza raids
Casualties rise in Gaza raids
Deluge of Envoys
Who is a civilian?
Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:09 pm
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