Seeing Israel through the BBC’s lens

There is a standing joke in my family that British people who have never been to Israel, and whose main source of news is the BBC, are likely be under the impression that only soldiers and politicians inhabit that country because the BBC rarely shows images of anybody else – unless they belong to the minority (10% according to the most generous of estimations) ultra-orthodox community. 

An article titled “Worrying time for Israelis as US Syria strike looms” which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page at the end of August 2013 and throughout the first week of September would surely have provided a good opportunity for the use of an illustration showing Israeli civilians coming to renew their gas masks. Instead, this is the photograph which was chosen.

pic gas masks

The illustrations used in other Israel-related articles which appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page during September were dominated by pictures of what is perhaps the most photographed army in the world. 

pic army 1

pic army 2

pic army 3

pic army 4

There was also an ‘In Pictures’ feature on Yom Kippur. 

Pic YK feature

And of course, politicians were also featured – though not always Israeli ones.

pic politicians 1

pic politicians 2

 Can the BBC News website claim that its visitors are being presented with an accurate and balanced selection of images of Israel?  

Related articles:

BBC ‘In Pictures’ on prisoner release: no mention of crimes

Disproportional representation: every (BBC chosen) picture tells a story

BBC pictorial portrayals of conflict in Israel and Gaza

BBC’s “In Pictures” fails to meet editorial standards

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