The BBC In Its Own Words: “We Made a Mistake”

we have appointed, in my time, Jeremy Bowen as Middle East editor to try to make sure that in coverage of Israel/Palestine and more broadly the Middle East, not only do we cover point stories, hard news stories on the day, but also we have an editor who is thinking and can help the public understand the context. Often, I think, broadcasters get into trouble when, in a sense, either the reporters themselves or perhaps the public do not understand the historical and geographical context within which things happen. Israel/Palestine, I think, is particularly an example of a story where what the story looks like depends partly on what geographical lens you apply to it and the broader you get the more you understand why things happen the way they do.

Could this be the same Jeremy Bowen who, in 2009, was found guilty by the BBC Trust itself of inaccuracy in his reporting on Israel? Yes, the very same Jeremy Bowen whose bias against Israel has been highlighted by HonestReporting on many occasions.

Jeremy Bowen is part of the problem and not part of the solution as Thompson seems to believe. HonestReporting continues to call for Bowen’s removal from his position as Middle East editor. If the public does not understand the historical and geographical context of the Israeli-Palestinian issue then the BBC has a certain amount of responsibility for this situation. Thompson himself states that the BBC is a global broadcaster with a huge influence. Jeremy Bowen may very well understand the context but allows his own personal prejudices to influence how the BBC covers the story.

It’s time for him to go.

The Power to Influence

That Mark Thompson has been questioned on BBC coverage of Israel in a British parliamentary hearing is a testament to effectiveness of taking action online. HonestReporting was amongst the first to call out the BBC for its Itamar murders coverage, helping to elevate the issue and creating a buzz online assisted by the thousands of our readers who expressed their outrage. As the story spread to other outlets and mainstream media, it caught the attention of a sympathetic British politician.

Now, over a year later, we can see that the results of our holding the BBC to account aren’t necessarily measured in the hours, weeks or even months after an event. The BBC is a global producer of anti-Israel media bias and we will not stop holding it to account.

Image: CC BY-SA, flickr/jeffanddayna.

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