BBC editor hired to correct anti-Israel bias was found to be perpetrating it
Back from the USSR, I perceived the BBC radio as a voice of freedom. These days I find it deeply disappointing because at least in one respect – its coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict – the Beeb is nauseatingly biased against Israel. Today the Editorial Standards Committee of the BBC Trust admitted bias.
The BBC is a unique institution. It is the largest broadcasting organisation on the planet (with an annual operating expenditure over £4 billion) and it is a public service broadcaster. The former gives it tremendous power.
The combination of size with 100% public ownership means that the BBC has very clear Editorial Guidelines.
They state: “The BBC’s commitment to accuracy is a core editorial value and fundamental to our reputation… Impartiality lies at the heart of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences.“
In November 2003 in response to criticism (from both sides) about its Middle East coverage, the BBC appointed Malcolm Balen as Senior Editorial Adviser on the Middle East.
He wrote a long Report which was supposed to be internal. Reportedly it found anti-Israel bias.
Since then, the BBC spent hundreds of thousands of B. pounds of taxpayer money on a long legal battle against making it public. This is especially hypocritical because the BBC frequently uses the Freedom of Information Act for its own reporting.
Also in response to criticism the BBC appointed its first Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen.
What happened today was the publication of a landmark decision. The highest level of the BBC’s complaints-handling structure – the Editorial Standards Committee of the BBC Trust – has ruled that Jeremy Bowen breached both the guideline on accuracy and that on impartiality.
It is not easy to distinguish the cause and effect here, but it is no surprise that UK is European center of anti-Semitism.
Of course it will take much more than this to correct the problem, but today’s step is in the right direction.
JPost’s article Complaints of BBC bias partially upheld says in part:
However, the Trust’s ruling contains no sanction, and a BBC spokesman played down its significance. In respect to one of the findings, the spokesman said that Bowen had merely been “exercising his professional judgment on history.”
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