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Report accuses BBC of supporting Iran

British-Israeli attorney claims broadcasting network's Arabic-language radio station aired commentary biased against Israel during Second Lebanon War

Meirav Crystal
Published: 03.25.08, 19:09 / Israel Culture

A lawyer who has been managing a campaign against the British Broadcasting Corporation's news coverage of Israel for several years now has claimed that the BBC allowed its Arabic-language station to air a biased commentary in favor of Iran and Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War.

 

After his 2004 report "What Went Wrong at the BBC: A Public Monopoly Abusing its Charter through Bias against Israel," Attorney Trevor Asserson, A British-Israeli citizen recently issued a new report arguing that the Arabic-language BBC radio's coverage of the 2006 war was biased against Israel and even supported Iran.

 

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The research team observed the station's main commentary program "Hadith al-sa'a" (Talk of the Hour) during the Second Lebanon War, and concluded that commentators supporting Iran and its views were given preference.

 

The station's commentators, the report said, did not even try to hide their clear sympathy for the Lebanese side and Hizbullah fighters.

 

The BBC is a British public broadcasting authority, and its Arabic-language radio station has been on the air for many years now. It enjoys high ratings and is perceived as a reliable station.

 

The BBC recently launched an Arabic-language television station that is currently on a trial period.

 

According to the report, all of the BBC's departments must maintain the standards and ethical rules that the station has been practicing for years. The radio station cannot be subjected to different rules, the report added.

 

'Support for enemies intolerable'

The report went on to say that the BBC's policy towards Israel was a known reality, but that the fact that British soldiers were fighting on the front line while a station financed by their parents' money broadcast words of support for their enemies was intolerable.

 

Asserson claimed in the past that BBC reports on Israel were distorted and unfair, biased in favor of the Palestinians (for example, in refusing to use the words "terror" or "terrorist" which constitute a violation of the network's guidelines) and spreading antipathy. He also demanded that the British government refuse to renew the channel's public broadcasting license.

 

Asserson also has a website called BBCwatch.com, in which he presents his claims against the British broadcasting network.

 

The full report will be presented on Wednesday in a conference held by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). It had been delivered to the Government Press Office in Israel and to the BBC headquarters in London.

 

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