BBC double standards on paramilitary murals

Here is a BBC report from October 15th on the subject of a paramilitary mural in Belfast. 

mural NI

Notably, the report includes the views of a local councillor and the BBC provides information regarding the paramilitary group depicted in the mural.

“Alliance councillor Maire Hendron said: “It is simply being used to intimidate, mark territory and create fear among local people.

“We should not accept the appearance of this sickening image of masked gunmen.” ” […]

“The new image is dedicated to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), a paramilitary group that murdered more than 500 people during the Troubles.”

A similar policy has been adopted in previous BBC reports on the subject of murals in Northern Ireland – see here, here and here.

The image below appeared in the October 24th edition of the ‘News in Pictures’ feature on the BBC News website.

in pictures mural

The photograph is one of several taken by Nasser Ishtayeh of the AP news agency. Here is another image of less pastoral parts of the same mural painted on the wall of the Nablus football stadium – not shown by the BBC – from the same set. 

AP photo mural

Here is part of the mural photographed by a photographer from a different agency.

Getty mural

The caption to the image chosen by the BBC reads:

“Palestinian artists paint a mural symbolising resistance and the right of the return of Palestinian refugees, in the West Bank city of Nablus.”

Not only does the BBC not adopt the language and narrative of paramilitary terrorist organisations when describing murals depicting them in Northern Ireland; it goes to the trouble of informing audiences about the violent reality of the actions of those groups and the perceived effects of such murals on the Northern Ireland peace process. So why does it embrace the double standard of romanticisation of terror in another part of the world? 

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