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Reporting Palestine-Israel: exchanges with BBC

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Joined: 03 Oct 2004
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Location: Glasgow

Post Post subject: Reporting Palestine-Israel: exchanges with BBC Reply with quote

BBC evasion/prevarication (1)

I wish to complain about the bias, imbalance and basic laziness of reporting evident in the incident noted at this BBC report:

Why was no alternative account of this incident included in the BBC's piece? Instead of relying solely on Israeli claims, the BBC could have sought the views of the dead man's family, as noted in this report:

Whether or not the account given by Israeli sources is true, where is the essential balance?

I look forward to your explanation as to why BBC reporters did not, like Maan, obtain any contesting evidence.

Besides the standard use of official Israeli claims and (contrary to BBC guidelines) gross imbalance of viewpoints, this article illustrates the BBC's all too lazy and casual coverage of daily occupation in the West Bank.


John Hilley

Dear Mr Hilley

Thank you for getting in touch.

We have reviewed the article in question but cannot agree with your assertion that it is biased and imbalanced.

Our report was written based on the information which was available at the time. The Maan report, to which you refer, is dated the following day.

While the Maan report does quote the family and gives their views, it does not shed any further light on the incident itself.

Kind regards

Middle East desk
BBC News website

Dear desk

Thanks for responding.

You say the family's claims "does not shed any further light on the incident itself."

But the version from Israeli sources presumably gives all the 'illumination' needed?

Actually, the family's view does shine further light on the story, simply in disputing what Israel says. Is this not news in itself? Or is that to be determined solely by what Israel tells you is news?

John Hilley


BBC evasion/prevarication (2)

Please could you explain the imbalanced information contained in your article:

Palestinian Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal visits Gaza

The piece notes, baldly:

'Under its charter, Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel.'

As you are, no doubt, aware, this assertion is patently misleading and used to disguise the much more realistic truth of Hamas's current political position, some interpretations of which are noted here:

As cited, Meshaal himself has called the charter "a piece of history and no longer relevant".

Why not include that kind of basic, balancing opinion in your report?

As brazenly stated, the BBC's sentence looks like something straight from the Israeli hasbara handbook.

Would the BBC ever say anything like: 'Netanyahu/Likud is committed to the destruction of Gaza'?

If the purpose of BBC news is to inform its viewers on the issue, this requires, at least, some basic context about the Hamas charter and how the words of a largely discredited document have been used for propaganda purposes.

Please correct this gross distortion with a balancing reference.


John Hilley

Dear Mr Hilley

Thank you for getting in touch.

Hamas' charter is its official covenant and has never been annulled. It clearly calls for the "liberation" of the whole of "Palestine". There have been some signals from some Hamas leaders that they would be willing to enter a 10-year truce with Israel under certain conditions, but equally Hamas has not renounced its call for Israel's destruction, nor does it recognise Israel's right to exist.

Khaled Meshaal made Hamas' position towards Israel clear in his speech in Gaza on 8 December, corroborated by translations including this from Reuters

It is undeniable that Meshaal's comments correspond with the principles of Hamas' charter.

Kind regards
Middle East desk
BBC News website

Dear desk

The selective and biased emphasis on an old and discredited Hamas document clearly illustrates your continued efforts to present a skewed version of the realities here.

There's no attempt to separate rhetoric from Hamas's realpolitik. In doing so, you've continued to misinform your readers.

One not need support Hamas itself to see the loaded language and calculated demonisation of that organisation.

Moreover, when has the BBC similarly discussed Israel's destruction of Palestine or refusal to permit Palestine the right to exist?

Balance? Context? Truth?

It is undeniable that your comments correspond with the false proclamations of the BBC's charter.

John Hilley
Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:33 pm
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