Many of you wrote to the BBC asking for their reaction to our one year analysis that systematically and quantifiably demonstrated a clear bias against Israel in the BBC’s reporting. So did the Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News, who, along with our subscribers, were told by the BBC:
HonestReporting has a particular view of the conflict and cannot be seen as an independent arbiter of our output.
BBC News is committed to impartial reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an independent panel of inquiry into the impartiality of the BBC’s coverage of the Middle East in 2006 found that there was ‘no deliberate or systematic bias in our coverage of the conflict.’
We certainly have no problem in taking a different ‘view of the conflict’ to the BBC’s moral relativism. However, HonestReporting’s analysis examined the BBC’s reporting, based not on subjective opinion, but on the very journalistic standards that the BBC claims to uphold.
Indeed, the BBC did not deny or even question the statistics or conclusions of our study, choosing instead to question HonestReporting itself. This, from an organization that has suppressed the publication of its own Balen Report into its Mideast coverage (to which HonestReporting was denied access after making a Freedom of Information request). We continue to ask – if the BBC has nothing to hide, why is it so intent on spending UK taxpayers’ money to cover up Balen?
And why is the BBC unwilling to address the findings of HonestReporting’s analysis? In our report, we found:
The BBC virtually ceased reporting on Palestinian rocket attacks but detailed numerous Israeli military operations in Gaza.
The BBC’s headline selection for stories about the conflict was inconsistent and favoured the Palestinian side.
Images accompanying articles of combat or terrorist attacks were heavily sympathetic to the Palestinian perspective by a ratio of three to one.
HonestReporting has not ‘lobbied’ the BBC directly. Our readers are able to judge our material on its own merits so why are their views and those of other concerned individuals treated with such disdain by the BBC?
We repeat our question and ask our subscribers to also ask the BBC – do you deny the findings of HonestReporting’s analysis of the BBC’s Mideast coverage? Our subscribers deserve an answer.
Continue to send your comments to the BBC through its website – http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints
INDIE SEES NO HAMAS RESPONSIBILITY
Recent events in Gaza have generated much media coverage, not all of it balanced (see HonestReporting’s communique). The Independent’s lead editorial, while paying lip service to the Qassam missile attacks on Sderot and the surrounding region, can best be summed up in one line: “The suffering in Gaza is real, and is the result of Israel’s embargo.”
The Independent refuses to acknowledge that Hamas may bear some responsibility for the suffering of Palestinians under its control. Instead the editorial claims:
The Geneva Conventions stipulate that occupying powers have an obligation to supply utilities such as water and power to occupied populations. Israel has attempted to get around this by arguing that it is no longer bound by the law governing the administration of occupied territories because it withdrew its troops from Gaza in 2005. But that is thoroughly unconvincing. Israel still controls Gaza’s borders, airspace and territorial waters. It may have begun referring to the Strip as a “hostile entity”, but this is plainly an area still under Israeli control.
This is certainly highly disputable. As Dore Gold points out:
Article 6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly states that “the Occupying Power shall be bound for the duration of the occupation to the extent that such Power exercises the functions of government in such territory….” If no Israeli military government is exercising its authority or any of “the functions of government” in the Gaza Strip, then there is no occupation.
(For more commentary on this issue, see Erik Schechter in the Jerusalem Post.)
Despite the fact that Egypt controls its border with Gaza and Hamas is the governing power in the territory, it still suits The Independent to lay sole blame for the situation on Israel. Even a prominent Arab editor has blamed Hamas for the ongoing crisis, saying the Islamist movement had acted “stupidly” by firing rockets at Israel.
Please send your letters to The Independent – firstname.lastname@example.org - remembering to include your name, postal address and daytime telephone number if you wish to see it published.
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