Former network chief, Lord Michael Ian Grade, says BBC shirked its duty by not reporting on the constant incitement by Palestinian leaders, which “has played an undeniable part in stoking tension recently and is an important part of the story.”
By Eli Leon, News Agencies & Israel Hayom Staff
Former BBC chairman Lord Michael Ian Grade lambasted the network last week, saying its coverage of the recent terrorist attacks in Israel has been plagued with bias.
The BBC has come under attack for its coverage of the terrorist attacks in Israel – Photo: AP
Grade wrote to the corporation’s director of news and current affairs, James Harding. He specifically faulted correspondent Orla Guerin, saying her reporting from the region failed to report on the “wider context” of the recent attacks and suggested an “equivalence between Israeli victims of terrorism and Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli security forces in the act of carrying out terror attacks.” His letter was first reported by the Conservatives Friends of Israel, a British advocacy group that is aligned with the Conservative Party and “works to promote its twin aims of supporting Israel and promoting Conservatism in the U.K.”
“An emotional interview is conducted with the father of a dead Palestinian youth who had been killed committing a fatal terror attack. However, the report failed to show the emotional distress caused to Israelis by any of these recent attacks. This is inexcusable,” Grade wrote.
“Additionally, it was improper of the correspondent to claim that ‘there’s no sign of involvement by militant groups,’ before immediately showing footage of Palestinian Islamic Jihad banners at the home of a 19-year-old terrorist who carried out a deadly knife attack at Lions’ Gate in Jerusalem on Oct. 3. PIJ is a well-known Palestinian terror organization and it has since claimed responsibility for the attack and been praised by Hamas, another internationally proscribed terror organization. This directly misleads viewers.”
He further said that Guerin chose not to show Palestinian rock throwers. This, and her decision to ignore the big picture, hurt viewers by “limiting their awareness and understanding of what is an undoubtedly complex issue.”
Stopped & corrected on air, that the man WAS armed
“The carefully selected footage failed to show the stone-throwing protesters prompting the presence and action of Israeli security forces. While this footage is entirely worthy of broadcast, I strongly feel that viewers lacked visual and oral description of the wider context,” he wrote.
Grade, who headed the network’s governing body from 2004 to 2006, said the BBC shirked its duty to viewers by not reporting on the ongoing Palestinian incitement, which “has played an undeniable part in stoking tension recently and is an important part of the story.”
“Regrettably, this is not the first time the standard of reporting and impartiality has been unsatisfactory in recent weeks,” he wrote. “On Saturday, 3rd October, I was disappointed to see the BBC News website publish a misleading and counter-factual headline: ‘Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attacks kills two.’ I note reports that this headline underwent four revisions following public criticism.”
On Monday, MSNBC apologized for a segment it aired Thursday in which Middle East correspondent Martin Fletcher used inaccurate maps to describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The maps suggested there was a Palestinian state before Israel’s founding 67 years ago, whereas in fact, in 1948 “Palestine” was only an administrative region under British rule.
“Last Thursday, in an attempt to talk about the context for the current turmoil in the Middle East we showed a series of maps of the changing geography in that region. We realized after we went off the air the maps were not factually accurate and we regret using them,” broadcaster Kate Snow said.
Fletcher also apologized on air.
“The bottom line is it was completely wrong. I mean, there was no Palestinian — there was no state called Palestine,” he said. “In 1946, it was a British mandate land. Britain was given control of the area by the League of Nations.”
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