BBC portrayal of PA’s failed UNSC bid

The BBC News website’s coverage of the UN Security Council’s rejection of a draft resolution proposed by Jordan on behalf of the PA on December 30th included a written report titled “UN Security Council rejects Palestinian resolution“.

That article was initially presented to visitors to the website’s Middle East page using the photograph below.

UNSC art on HP

The motivation behind the choice of that particular image to illustrate this specific story is of course cringingly transparent. BBC audiences are herded towards a view of the story in terms of the contrived symbolism apparent in the image: a small, weak, helpless, child-like Palestine pluckily stands up to a big, strong, armed Israel blocking its way. The image was later removed – perhaps due to concerns related to the BBC’s guidance on Stills Photographs and Images which includes the following:

UNSC written

“Care must be taken to ensure that […] images do not reinforce prejudicial perspectives or depict groups in stereotypical ways.”

The latter part of the later version of that article is devoted to a “media review” of the topic and – despite cryptically noting that “[t]he Hamas-run Filastin newspaper criticises Fatah’s handling of the resolution: “Fatah did not consult anyone””, the article again fails to inform BBC audiences of the fact that assorted Palestinian factions and figures publicly stated their opposition to the draft resolution even before its presentation.

Embedded in that article as well as appearing separately on the website’s Middle East page is a filmed report by the BBC’s Washington Correspondent Rajini Vaidyanathan which was also aired on BBC television news programmes.

That report opens with scenes described as follows in Vaidyanathan’s voiceover:

“The funeral of a Palestinian teenager who was killed by Israeli troops earlier this week. Mourners gathered to mark the loss of another life in a conflict which has claimed both Palestinians and Israelis. “UNSC filmed 31 12

Seventeen year-old Imam Jamil Dweikat was shot on December 29th near Tapuach Junction.

“An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma’an that an Israeli military patrol was passing through the area when they “encountered a group of Palestinians hurling rocks at a main road, which endangered both civilians and vehicles.” 

“The forces called them to halt and fired warning shots, and when they didn’t comply they responded to the threat with direct fire which wounded one of the attackers.” 

She said that the military treated him on site but he later died of his wounds.”

That all important context was obviously not deemed ‘need to know’ information for BBC audiences by Rajini Vaidyanathan who goes on to tell viewers:

“Diplomacy has failed to end the violence. Palestinians put forward a resolution at the United Nations they believed was a path towards peace. In it they called for Israel to withdraw from areas it occupies, such as the West Bank, by 2017.” [emphasis added]

Those words are accompanied by the image below and once again BBC audiences are being mistakenly led to believe that the Gaza Strip is ‘occupied’.

UNSC filmed 31 12 b map

Notably too, we see that the PA’s unilateral move to circumvent negotiations is still being framed by the BBC as a ‘peace plan’ when it is of course anything but, and that it is attributed to “Palestinians”; a homogeneous title which fails to inform BBC audiences that the move was neither instigated nor supported by a consensus of opinion among Palestinian factions.  

Related Articles:

How did the BBC frame the PA’s UNSC move?

BBC’s portrayal of ‘Palestinian peace plan’ unravels

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