Watchdog of the Week: BBC Backs Down Over “Angel” Abbas

In January, HonestReporting critiqued the BBC’s report on a meeting between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the Pope.

The story included the following:


We pointed out to the BBC its own report from 2015 that cast doubt on the Pope’s alleged “angel of peace” comments.

Despite this, the BBC rejected our complaint. Cue our Watchdog of the Week, UK resident Stephen Franklin, a former HonestReporting Mission participant and a regular thorn in the side of the BBC.

Stephen continued the complaints process even after a first rejection. His perseverance paid off with the following correspondence from the BBC:

I’m sorry that our initial response did not address your concerns. After considering them further we’ve since amended this piece to now explain that:


Israeli relations with the Vatican were further strained after it was reported that Pope Francis described President Abbas as “an angel of peace” during the canonisation ceremony of two Palestinian nuns at the Vatican in 2015. The Vatican later clarified that this was an encouragement to Mr Abbas rather than a description of him.


We’ve also added correction note at the bottom of the article outlining this change.


We hope you’ll find this satisfactory and please accept our apologies both for the inclusion of this error and that it wasn’t recognised when you first complained.

Congratulations to Stephen for successfully overturning the BBC’s initial faulty judgment and proving that individuals can make a difference when it comes to defending Israel from media bias.

HonestReporting monitors an enormous number of media outlets around the world but we still need your help. Let us know if you see something that deserves our attention by contacting us through our Red Alert page and maybe you can be our next Watchdog of the Week.

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