In a November 16th article titled “Hamas press team gets makeover with first spokeswoman” which appeared in the ‘Features & Analysis’ section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page, Yolande Knell writes:
“It [Hamas] refuses to recognise Israel and is regarded as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States.”
Hamas is in fact defined as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, the European Union, Canada and Japan – as the BBC’s own profile of Hamas clearly states. In addition, Australia designates Hamas’ Izz al Din Al Qassam Brigades as a terrorist organization, as do New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
As also noted in the BBC’s profile, Hamas not only “refuses to recognise Israel”: its charter commits it to that country’s destruction.
This is far from the first time that Yolande Knell has misled BBC audiences by inaccurately portraying the extent of Hamas’ designation as a terrorist organization.
In the body of the article Knell writes:
“About a fifth of public servants working for the Hamas government are women. There is one female minister and several deputies.
However, it has a patchy record on women’s rights.
In the past it has issued specific orders for women to wear conservative dress, and banned them from smoking water pipes and riding on motorbikes, although these rules have not always been enforced.
Women and girls were banned from joining a United Nations-sponsored marathon earlier this year, leading to the race being cancelled.”
Hardly the standard of reporting one would expect from an organization which “aspires to remain the standard-setter for international journalism“.