Panorama in Gaza: The BBC Gets It Right?

pan_banDespite what happened to Alan Johnston, Jane Corbin and her colleagues from the BBC’s flagship documentary programme Panorama ventured into the Gaza Strip to see the situation of the Palestinians following the brutal Hamas takeover and the subsequent international isolation of the area.

The BBC’s default position on Israeli-Palestinian issues regularly places the blame solely on Israel, even in the face of conflicting evidence.  But would “Return to Gaza” be able to resist holding Israel responsible for the dire state of the Gaza economy and the suffering of the Palestinians?

In fact, while we did not have great expectations of the BBC, Jane Corbin’s documentary avoided demonising Israel and sanitising Palestinian terror groups as has frequently been the case. Hamas was held responsible for human rights violations and brutality against its political opponents, while Qassam rocket attacks on Israel and the smuggling of weaponry through tunnels from Egypt were also featured.

Disappointingly, the programme failed to mention kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who continues to be held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. The number of Israeli victims of Hamas terror acts and suicide bombings was also understated along with the organisation’s extremist ideology that calls not only for an Islamic state but also for the total destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews.

Overall, however, this edition of Panorama is a marked improvement over much BBC content concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The BBC should be encouraged to produce more balanced material so that programmes such as Panorama become the rule rather than the exception.

Judge the programme for yourself by clicking on the button below to view Panorama on the BBC website and send your considered comments and suggestions to panorama.reply@bbc.co.uk.

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For more on the situation in Gaza and Israel’s efforts to enable humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip see HonestReporting’s communique – Gaza ‘Under Siege?’. Also note the latest news that the European Union has stopped paying for fuel shipments to Gaza’s main power plant over concerns that Hamas might tax electricity to fund its government in the Strip.

MORE CONTROVERSY ON BBC MESSAGEBOARD

The BBC was rightly criticised for allowing anti-Semitic posts on one of its messageboards. It appears, however, that Jews are not the only victims of the BBC’s insensitivity. According to the Daily Mail:

The BBC has been forced to remove statements from its website referring to Jesus as a ‘bastard’. It is the latest in a string of offensive comments that BBC editors have allowed members of the public to post. The remarks have been allowed to remain for weeks, despite complaints from religious groups. It has led to claims that the BBC is allowing its output to be hijacked by extremists while censoring anti-Muslim sentiment.

When will the BBC show some consistency in preventing offensive postings on its messageboards?

COOKED TO IMPERFECTION

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The Guardian’s Comment is Free blog site is a regular source of anti-Israel articles, complemented by hateful and inciteful contributions from some of CIF’s readership. In a recent article by Jonathan Cook, we were almost flattered to be named as one of an all-encompassing network of ‘pro-Israeli propaganda’ organisations who are carrying out “a relentless campaign to target, discredit and silence critics of Israel.”

We were surprised, considering Cook, who peddles such false charges against Israel as “ethnic cleansing”, has the freedom to publish his screeds on CIF, which also devoted an entire week to promoting the launch of Independent Jewish Voices, an organisation highly critical of Israel. The Guardian happily gives op-ed space to spokesmen from Hamas while the Palestinian narrative continues to dominate the British media. Has a pro-Israel “lobby” really managed to silence critics of Israel?

HonestReporting encourages its readers to write informed correspondence to media outlets in order to balance the one-sided debate in the media. Jonathan Cook’s agenda, it seems, is to delegitimise and silence the very legitimate opinions held by those in opposition to his. Please continue to support HR UK in the fight against media bias.

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