AR: “Well the BBC’s one of the few organisations that has permanent offices in Gaza, in Ramallah, in Jerusalem, so we are better placed than many to make sure that we report both sides of the story. Ah…we’re very careful about the language we use. We’re very careful about the interviews we do and ensuring we have balance in both points of view that are put across and also just the volume of interviews we do from both sides. Because we do know that we come under extremely close scrutiny on this and right from the very beginning we’ve been very careful to make sure that we’ve spoken to…eh…families on both sides of this issue; with Israeli families and Palestinian families.”
Presenter: “How do you balance it? Do you look at each half-hour? Do you look at each hour? Do you go wider across at say a 24 hour period?”
AR: “Well we try to look at the entirety of our coverage. We’re not minute counting. We are ensuring that across the whole thing we can look back on our coverage of this and say we did give fair balance to each side. So it’s not a minute by minute thing, no.”
Presenter: “Do you have a situation where one side is not as media-friendly or easily accessible – with the situation in Gaza – as, say, the Israeli Defence Forces?”
AR: “It is sometimes difficult. Some sides of any conflict are possibly better at getting their message across, but it’s our job as journalists to make sure that we go the extra mile to get interviews and to make sure we do try to balance things.”
Presenter: “When you get people complaining that they feel one side has been given more air-time or more favour than the other, what do you do?”
AR: “We answer them by giving them the evidence that we’ve tried to put the other side as often as we can.”
No doubt we will be returning to these words in the not too distant future.