BBC and Palestine

BBC clarifies Newsnight error: Jerusalem is not ‘Israel’s capital’

Thank you to everyone who has been sending in complaints to the BBC this week. The BBC has issued a clarification over its reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in the Wednesday edition of Newsnight.  It’s a small paragraph tucked away on the Corrections and Clarifications page of the BBC website

This is what it says:
14 October 2015: Newsnight
In a report from Israel, Mark Urban referred to Jerusalem as ‘the nation’s capital’. Although Israel claims the city as its capital, this claim is not recognised internationally and East Jerusalem is considered to be occupied territory. The BBC’s advice to its journalists on terminology relating to Israel and the Palestinians can be read here

It’s an acknowledgment, at the least, that their reporting was inaccurate. And, hopefully, BBC reporters and editors will be issued with a reminder that Jerusalem is not Israel’s capital. Although, how the BBC’s diplomatic editor, and the editors who looked at his report before it was broadcast, were unaware of that is surprising. However, despite this clarification, the damage, on Newsnight has been done.

I think it would be worth writing to, or tweeting, the editor of Newsnight, Ian Katz, to ask if the correction will be broadcast on Newsnight, where the mistake was made, and to the audience who heard it.

Source:  Palestine Solidarity Campaign


Former BBC chairman comes out as pro-Israel

This article, in the Jewish Chronicle today, is interesting.

It details just how pro-Israel a former chairman of the BBC – Michael Grade – is.  Grade, who was chairman from 2004 to 2006, has just written to James Harding, the BBC’s head of news, to complain that the BBC’s coverage of current events is anti-Israel.
The Palestinians, he says, are carrying out ‘terror attacks’, the Israelis are involved in ‘security’. However, Grade feels this isn’t being reflected in BBC coverage.  Which just goes to show that, however pro-Israel BBC reporting is, it can never be pro-Israel enough for some of the people who have led the corporation.

James Harding, of course, who holds ‘arguably the most important editorial job in Britain’ (the Guardian), has publicly stated his pro-Israel sentiments in the past.
Source:  Palestine Solidarity Campaign, 19 October 2015


BBC apologies to Israeli blogger; Jerusalem; and BBC reporting failures

Four things:

1.       BBC Newsnight tweeted a clarification on 16 October about its reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital during the broadcast of 14thOctober. The tweet, and responses to it, can be seen here (This link can be opened even if you don’t have a Twitter account). Thank you to everyone who emailed Newsnight editor, Ian Katz, asking for a correction to be broadcast on Newsnight. His email address is
2.       It’s worth remembering that the BBC continues to reject complaints that it refers to Jerusalem as an Israeli city
3.       Despite rejecting these fact-based complaints about Jerusalem, the BBC last week apologised to an Israeli blogger who complained that a BBC report implied that “Israel discriminates by law between Jews and other ethnicities or religions.” This is despite the fact that Israel has legislation which does precisely that.
4.       Last Wednesday, David Amos, a British volunteer in the West Bank, was attacked by a settler. The story was covered in the Independent. The group that Mr Amos is with in the West Bank contacted the BBC, which hasn’t run the story and rejected an interview with Mr Amos. One of the group wrote this in a letter to the BBC: “On Wednesday my friend and fellow olive picker David Amos was attacked by a group of young settlers from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar. He was hit three times on the head with large stones from close range while defenceless, a clear attempt to murder him. He escaped with his life by fleeing down the mountain with two other women olive pickers, who were also attacked and robbed. The BBC have not reported this story at all and today rejected the proposal to speak to David on the Victoria Derbyshire program, after David had prepared himself despite being unwell and in pain. We are extremely disappointed at the failure of the BBC to respond to this shocking story of unprovoked attack on a British citizen abroad.”
Source: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, 19 October 2015


BBC implies Palestinian dead are Israeli’

This article is now on the Electronic Intifada website: BBC implies Palestinian dead are Israeli.

From the article: “For the BBC’s audiences, Palestinians must be presented only as attackers: attackers who deserve what they get, and their violence must be presented as random and inexplicable to the rational observer.”   This may also be useful: This is how the BBC constructs its biased news reports

Please share widely if you can.
Source:  Palestine Solidarity Campaign, 21.10.2015


BBC given message on mugs: Palestinians are under occupation

PSC sent this media release (see below) out today.

Many thanks to the Fair News volunteer who gave me the idea of sending mugs to the BBC.  The BBC has been sending generic replies to the complaints you’ve sent in the last week – thank you for forwarding them to me. I’ll try and reply to everyone as soon as possible with suggestions of how to take the complaints forward.
Many thanks for all your work.

Media Release                                        
Issued: 22/10/2015
For immediate release

The BBC’s head of news and current affairs, and some of the organisation’s most senior presenters, have received innovative reminders this week that the Palestinians are an occupied people whose land is still being stolen from them.  Palestine Solidarity Campaign has sent its mugs, printed with maps showing just how much of their land Palestinians have lost to Israel since 1948, to BBC Broadcasting House in London.  James Harding, the BBC’s Director of News and Current Affairs, Evan Davis, presenter of Newsnight, Today presenters, John Humphrys, Mishal Husain, Sarah Montague and James Naughtie, and News at Ten anchors, Fiona Bruce and Huw Edwards, were sent the mugs this week, along with letters reminding them who is the occupier and who is the occupied.

Sarah Colborne, Director of PSC, said the BBC needed the reminder in the wake of its unbalanced reporting of October’s violence, which has seen more than 50 Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers in three weeks.  She added: “Despite the huge number of Palestinian fatalities, which have included children as young as two, the BBC’s reporting has focused on attacks on Israelis and presented the occupier as the victim.  “On the Today programme this week, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent, Kevin Connolly, said it was impossible to guess at the motives of the Palestinians who had stabbed Israelis. He chose to ignore the brutal Israeli occupation and its war in the form of settlement building as potential reasons, preferring to present Palestinians as attacking for the sake of attacking.

“On Newsnight last week, the BBC’s Diplomatic Editor, Mark Urban, told viewers that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, echoing false Israeli claims and propaganda.”  Sarah continued: “We hope having a PSC mug, depicting everything the Palestinians have lost in the last 68 years, sitting on their desks will remind the BBC’s head of news and its senior presenters that it is the Palestinians who are the victims in this situation, not the heavily armed Israeli state.  “And we hope they enjoy drinking their morning tea from our mugs.


Some good news from the BBC

PSC received this message in an email on Friday:

“Thank you for all you do for Palestine. I am a freelancer for BBC news and was working the day after the map mistake. I can confirm it’s having an impact internally and the BBC are finally taking notice of someone other than the Zionist lobby.”

We received the message in response to an email we’d sent out on Thursday to all our subscribers highlighting recent BBC victories (you may     have received the email). Many thanks to everyone monitoring and writing complaints for Fair News. It’s heartening to know that the work that you do does make a difference, and that we’re helping to fill a space previously occupied only by the Zionist lobby.  Please keep up the good work!
Source: Fair News, Palestine Solidarity Campaign


BBC Director of Television signs Guardian letter opposing boycott of Israel

Please see here the media release sent out today by PSC.


Director of BBC Television signs the Guardian’s pro-Israel letter

See article for Electronic Intifada.
The article examines the support of Cohen and other senior BBC figures, past and present, for Israel.
Please feel free to share widely.
Source:  Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Take part in the BBC Charter Review

If you want to take part in the BBC Charter Review, you can do so online here
The deadline is 5th November.  The current Royal Charter and Agreement are due to expire in December 2016, with a new one coming into force in 2017.
Source:   Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Excellent resource: hopefully useful when making complaints to the BBC

See here for an excellent resource that should come in useful when making complaints to the BBC about what it doesn’t report. The link takes you to figures for all the Palestinians killed in Palestine since 14th September 2014, the numbers injured etc. When you scroll down (or click on the figure) you’ll find the names and ages of all those killed, the dates they were killed and, if you click on the arrow under each name, the details of how they were killed.

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