BBC news - biased?

Panel: BBC reports misleading

Report: BBC coverage of Mideast conflict inconsistent, but no evidence of systematic bias

The BBC does not "consistently give a full and fair account" when it comes to covering the Middle East conflict, a British report published on Tuesday charges.


The report, ordered by the BBC to examine claims of bias, was prepared by five independent figures.


The evidence examined points to the "elusiveness of editorial planning, grip and oversight," the report said. "In short, we found that BBC output does not consistently give a full and fair account of the conflict. In some ways the picture is incomplete and, in that sense, misleading."


Overall, the report said, there was stronger evidence of pro-Israel bias compared to pro-Palestinian bias.


However, the report said there was no evidence of systematic bias in covering the Mideast conflict, but urged the British corporation to call terrorism by name when appropriate.


"We say that the BBC should get the language right. We think they should call terrorist acts 'terrorism' because that term is clear and well understood," the report said, but noted that "our assessment is that, apart from individual lapses, there was little to suggest deliberate or systematic bias."


'A channel that serves the Arab world'


The panel tasked with preparing the report also noted some gaps existed in analyzing and relating certain events without providing proper context or history.


The panel was formed following complaints about partial reports when it came to BBC news broadcasts. Panel Chairman Sir Quentin Thomas said that evidence showed the BBC's "commitment to be fair, accurate and impartial," but said the corporation should aim for even higher standards.


The saga started in June of 2003, after The BBC aired a promo for a program on Israel's nuclear capabilities. Foreign Ministry officials were infuriated with what they said was a biased presentation and threatened to sever their ties with the BBC.


The Ministry was reevaluating its relationship with the BBC, Ministry Deputy Director Gideon Meir said at the time. "We asked the embassy in London to look into the issue, and we will decided whether to take steps after we get answers", he said.


Officials at the Ministry said that "with all due respect, the BBC has crossed the line. There is a feeling that the station has simply turned into a channel that serves the Arab world. For some reason the promo didn’t mention that Israel is the only country in the region whose existence is threatened."


פרסום ראשון: 05.02.06, 17:26
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