As we have noted here on several occasions – and most recently on July 18th 2013 – the three year-old profile of Hizballah appearing on the BBC website is sorely lacking up to date information and thus misleads audience members seeking background information to enhance their understanding of news stories.
“Last December we pointed out here that the BBC’s profile of Hizballah has not been updated since July 2010 and therefore includes no information about that terror organisation’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, the murder of Rafik Hariri, its terror attacks and activities in Europe or its involvement in drug trafficking, among other things.”
We are very happy to be able to report that the BBC has taken steps to rectify that problem, with a new article of the same title (“Who are Hezbollah?”) having been published on the BBC News website on July 22nd 2013.
Although it still describes Hizballah as a “militant group” and perpetuates the false notion of a separate “military wing”, the new profile does go some way towards correcting the important omissions which plagued the old one by, for example, mentioning Hizballah’s involvement in the Syrian civil war.
“Its intervention in the conflict in neighbouring Syria on the side of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has also been highly controversial, condemned within Lebanon and also internationally.”
“Since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, Hezbollah has consistently pledged its backing for President Bashar al-Assad and members of its military wing have crossed the border to fight against rebels. It has also provided training and logistical support to Syrian forces.
Fighters from the militant group were instrumental in a strategic victory by Syrian government forces in Qusair, close to the border with Lebanon, in early June 2013.”
Hizballah’s involvement in the Hariri murder is also briefly noted:
“It has several seats in parliament and had ministers in a national unity government formed in late 2009. However, in January 2011, Hezbollah and its allies brought about that government’s collapse by resigning.
This was in protest against the UN tribunal investigating former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s murder. The tribunal was about to issue indictments against members of Hezbollah.”
And its recent designation by the EU and involvement in terrorism in Europe has been added, although the suggestion that only “Western states” have proscribed Hizballah is inaccurate.
“Hezbollah has been blacklisted by the United States, the UK and several other Western states and, in July 2013, the EU also designated the organisation’s military wing as a terrorist organisation.
Bulgaria, an EU member state, says there is compelling evidence that Hezbollah was responsible for a bomb attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in 2012 in which six people died. The group denies any involvement.
In March 2013, a court in Cyprus jailed a Hezbollah member for three years for plotting to attack Israeli targets on the island.”
Unfortunately, however, a member of the public carrying out a simple internet search for information about Hizballah appearing on the BBC website will not arrive at this new updated profile because the first result which appears is still the old outdated article from 2010.
Logic would suggest that an out of date article which has been replaced by one more suited to the needs of BBC audiences should be removed from the BBC website – especially if, as in this case, they appear under the same title. Surely the BBC’s Search Engine Optimisation team could make sure that the up to date item appears instead of the outdated one.