JNN 04 Dec 2010 : Many were shocked on Thursday by the BBC’s admission that its report concerning funds raised for famine relief in Ethiopia were ‘misleading’ in their association to the charity Band Aid.
Even more shocking was their shameful and embarrassing apology to Sir Bob Geldoff and the Band Aid trustees, which was aired simultaneously across all BBC services.
I too am surprised the BBC apologised but I’m also wondering why it took them seven months to finally own up to their disgraceful and ‘unfair’ reportage. The programme in question was aired in March this year and the Band Aid Trust wrote formally to the BBC in early April. Surely the BBC should have accepted fault and apologised sooner?
Instead Mark Thompson, the BBC’s director-general, wrote a 19 page (Yes 19 page!!) reply to the Trust defending the report (prior to an investigation) and said it was “robust and excellent journalism”! However after an investigation had been conducted and the BBC’s subsequent apology the only question remaining was why such flawed ‘journalism’ was broadcast in the first place?
Unlike many I’m not too shocked at the BBC’s dwindling standards. Personally I lost all trust and respect (the little that remained over the years) for the BBC in January 2009 after it refused a request from the Disaster and Emergency Committee (DEC) to air a television appeal by aid agencies in the aftermath of the 2009 Israeli offensive on the Gaza strip. According to Amnesty International the onslaught resulted in 1400 deaths, 300 of whom were children. The BBC provided some ridiculous reason about not wanting to compromise their ‘impartiality’.
I’d like to ask the BBC when were they ever impartial? Or maybe my TV wasn’t working that day? So according to Mr Thompson ITV, Channel 4 and Five aired the appeal because they were pro-Palestine? Maybe they aired it because they felt that they had a responsibility, a feeling which over-powered any fear they felt from the pressuring Israeli lobbyists and the Israeli government?
There are countless examples of the BBC’s bias towards Israel in nearly every report of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Terms (deliberately) used, imply that Israelis are the victims and Palestinians the tormentors. The BBC will refrain from using the words ‘occupied territories’ as much as possible and prefers to refer to the same land as ‘disputed territories’, a blatant attempt to make the Israeli’s appear in a better light and consequently keep the officials in Tel Aviv happy.
Every once in a while when a rocket is fired into Israel the BBC pounces on the story but decides to keep the masses ignorant about the on going humanitarian crisis in Gaza caused by the illegal Israeli siege.
Another example is the BBC’s Newsround website which provides teachers with lesson plans. The lesson plan in question is about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Even though some changes have been made to the original version many of the ‘facts’ remain inexcusably misleading and over-simplifying.
The apartheid wall is referred to as a ‘barrier’ and ‘fence’ and rather then stating that the wall is in breach of international law instead they choose to say ‘the United Nations and countries including America and the UK have said they don’t think the barrier is a good idea’. I mean seriously?!Although the lesson plan has been prepared for 11-14 year olds, it is obviously more suited to 5 year olds.
In truth impartiality has no place in the BBC, how can it when most of the people at the top are appointed by the government with one task only, to act as a propaganda machine for UK interests. When it comes to vital issues, international or domestic, the government is confident that the BBC will tell the story how it should be told.