The BBC’s Arabic news service has been accused of “systematic bias” against Israel, after an investigation by the Jewish Chronicle uncovered “large numbers of examples of apparent anti-Israel bias and inaccuracies”.
The BBC was forced to acknowledge 25 mistakes in its Arabic coverage of Israel in just over two years, the Jewish Chronicle reports. BBC Arabic stands accused of “systematically downplaying terror attacks on Israelis; repeatedly using Hamas-inspired language; showcasing extreme views without challenge; and publishing a map in which Israel was erased”.
In October, the BBC apologised for broadcasting an appeal by convicted Hamas terrorist Ahlam Tamimi in response to concerns raised by CFI Officer Bob Blackman MP and the families of Tamimi’s victims. The BBC has also apologised for describing Jerusalem as “the occupied city”, the Israeli army as the “Israeli Occupation Forces” and the PLO as “the Palestinian Resistance” in its Arabic language coverage.
The Jewish Chronicle investigation found that the BBC has employed correspondents who have previously worked with Hezbollah-affiliated channels, including the Hezbollah-owned TV station Al-Manar. Al-Manar was designated a “Terrorist Entity” by the United States for allegedly providing cover for a Hezbollah operative.
Whistleblowers reportedly described a “toxic atmosphere” within the BBC Arabic newsroom, with staff afraid to voice concerns over bias.
“You go through the door to the BBC Arabic department in Broadcasting House in London and it’s like you’ve stepped into a world with different standards”, one employee said.
“It’s a totally different culture inside there. There is a sense that journalists feel free and entitled to follow their own agendas rather than BBC impartiality. It can be quite intimidating”, they added.
BBC News Arabic is run by the World Service and receives funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
A dossier of breaches was delivered to Broadcasting House this week. In response, a BBC spokesperson said: “BBC Arabic shares exactly the same principles of accuracy and impartiality as BBC News in English, and we strongly reject the suggestion that its impartiality is compromised”.