On March 8th an article currently running under the title “Catherine Ashton in landmark bridge-building trip to Iran” appeared in the Features & Analysis section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page. The subject matter of the report – which was written by the BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet – is as expressed in its latest headline: a visit to Iran by the EU’s foreign affairs representative.
However, one of two photographs chosen to illustrate the article is this one below, which is accompanied by the following caption:
“Iran has rejected Israeli allegations that it was behind a shipment of Syrian-made rockets intended for Palestinian militants in Gaza”
Doucet’s report does not at any point relate to the incident last week in which a ship sailing from Iran to Sudan was seized by Israeli naval forces in the Red Sea due to its carrying Syrian-made missiles destined for terror groups in the Gaza Strip.
Hence the gratuitous inclusion of this photograph and its context-free caption can only be seen as yet more promotion of Iranian propaganda on the part of the BBC.
The terms of the BBC’s constitutional document commit the corporation to building “a global understanding of international issues” and enabling “individuals to participate in the global debate on significant international issues”. Although the BBC has shown no qualms about repeating and amplifying Iran’s propaganda on this topic, it has made no attempt whatsoever to justify that promotion with any sort of independently verified factual information which would support the notion that the Syrian-made missiles did not arrive in Tehran from Damascus and were not transported from there to the port of Bandar Abbas with the knowledge of the Iranian regime.
Instead, it seems that the BBC is of the opinion that all audiences need to know is that “Iran has rejected Israeli allegations” (with the use of that last word being highly significant). Whether or not there is any evidence to support that “rejection” is apparently deemed superfluous to audiences’ “understanding of international issues”, meaning that not only is their ability to participate in the “debate” on Iran’s long record of arming and financing terrorist organisations constrained, but so is their awareness of the fact that such an issue exists.