Earlier this month we noted yet more breaches of the BBC editorial guidelines which require interviewees and guests on BBC programmes to be adequately introduced so that audiences can determine “when contributors are associated with a particular viewpoint”.
We also noted that in October of last year, the BBC’s Editorial Standard’s Committee stated that it had reminded BBC News producers of “the importance of clearly summarising the standpoint of any interviewee where it is relevant and not immediately clear from their position or the title of their organization”.
That earlier post related to two occasions on which Asim Qureshi of ‘Cage’ had been inadequately introduced to audiences before being interviewed on the issue of British Muslims travelling to Syria to fight with insurgent groups.
The same subject came under discussion on the May 20th edition of BBC Two’s ‘Newsnight’ under the heading “Why shouldn’t British Muslims fight in Syria?” and the programme can be seen by readers in the UK for a limited period of time here. The specific segment can also be viewed here.
Asim Qureshi was again one of the guests invited by ‘Newsnight’ to discuss the topic and once more presenter Jeremy Paxman’s introduction of him did nothing to fully and appropriately inform audiences of Qureshi’s “standpoint” on this subject.
“We’re also joined by Asim Qureshi from the campaign group Cage which works on behalf of those accused of terrorist offences.”
Notably, Jeremy Paxman’s introduction of the item itself included a comparison between British Muslims fighting with Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria and British Jews who enlist with the IDF.
“Let’s take first off this comparison there that was raised at the end of that report. People from this country went and fought in the Spanish civil war and many people felt rather fondly and proudly towards them. People from this country have gone off and fought with, for example, the Israel Defence Forces. In what respect is this particular offence of going to Syria an acute matter which deserves being sent to jail for?”
Of course Paxman neglects to clarify that British-born IDF soldiers would have to have either permanent or temporary residency status in Israel before joining the army of that sovereign country.
In light of Paxman’s inadequate introduction of Qureshi and his organization, it is particularly relevant that Qureshi’s misleading and inaccurate claim – at 02:15 in the video version above – goes uncorrected and unchallenged.
“But I think the vast majority…well I think there isn’t really a single voice here in the UK at least that’s encouraging them to go there.”
“Every time you stick on BBC you see what’s going on in Syria, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Kashmir, in Palestine. And what: you think you’re seeing all of that stuff, that knowledge is coming to you and that Allah will not hold you accountable for it? […]
This should be the beginning; the reason why we’ve gathered here today is to say to ourselves that we need to do more. We need to gather together and do something about the situation. […]
We’ve got brothers here who’ve turned up in vans. They’ve turned up in order to give you the opportunity to help through your wealth, through your bodies, through anything that you can.” [emphasis added]