New BBC chair says would review broadcaster's coverage of Israel-Hamas war

Samir Shah says BBC needs to 'consider very clearly' refusal to call Hamas 'terrorists' rather than referring to group as 'proscribed terrorist organization'

Incoming BBC Chairman Samir Shah announced Wednesday that he intends to examine how the media organization has covered the war between Israel and Hamas.
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“It seems to me there is enough in terms of criticism of the way the BBC has covered this war,” he said. “The BBC does a periodic review of its editorial guidelines and it seems to me that the issues that the current was has thrown up need to be absolutely part of that.”
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סמיר שאה
סמיר שאה
BBC Chairman Samir Shah
(Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville)
“It is not an adequate enough response [for the BBC] to say ‘both sides are criticizing us and therefore we must be doing something right’,” he went on to say, calling this approach “a soundbite, but the ambition of a BBC journalist should be that neither side is criticizing us and [everyone] thinks we’re doing well.”
The former BBC politics program presenter, who has recently assumed the British public broadcaster's top job, emphasized that he will "examine" the coverage style, focusing on the decision not to label Hamas as "terrorists", which has sparked significant controversy in recent months and led to protests outside the network's offices.
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BBC offices in London
(Photo: Frank Augstein, AP)
He said the BBC needs to “consider very clearly” its refusal to call Hamas “terrorists” rather than referring to the group as a “proscribed terrorist organization” – and said the latter phrase “feels a bit clunky to me, it’s not the natural speech of a reporter.”
Responding to a question over whether the public broadcaster is conducting a "good war," Shah acknowledged that BBC journalists are “working in difficult circumstances, so we need to be cautious sitting here in the safety of Britain questioning whether they are having a ‘good war’ or not.”
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