Is the BBC The Voice of Israel?
By M. Idrees | Pulse Media | January 7, 2010
It has been a year since Israel’s savage assault on Gaza that killed more than 1400 civilians. For the duration of the attack the BBC did not have a single man or a woman inside Gaza to cover it. This would be understandable if there weren’t any means available to get a journalist into Gaza. But this was not the case. The BBC, unlike channels such as Al Jazeera International, appeared content to comply with Israeli demands to keep clear. Worse, its journalists parroted Israeli claims about the rationales and the consequences of the assault. Just as the British government provided tacit support for the assault, so the BBC assisted it by giving Israeli officials ample time to rationalize the atrocities. If this were not bad enough, the BBC then took the reprehensible step of refusing to run a Disasters and Emergencies Commission (DEC) appeal for the victims in Gaza.
When months latter it finally came to acknowledge that its coverage had indeed been biased, it claimed it was… too pro-Palestinian!
A week back we published a letter that friend of PULSE Anne Key had sent to the BBC complaining about the excessive deference with which it treats Israeli spokesmen. She has since received a reply in which, among the usual platitudes, the BBC editor writes: ‘We have given air-time to representatives from across the political spectrum and our correspondents are equally vigorous in their questioning of interviewees regardless of whether they are Israeli or Palestinian’. But the question was not whether the BBC gives airtime; it is rather the proportion of the airtime each side receives.
As the Glasgow University Media Group has shown in ironclad figures, the Israeli side receives a disproportionately higher amount of time. If the BBC questions these assertions, then it should present alternative figures which prove otherwise.