BBC Sport promotes context-free political statements

Visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page on January 12th found an article by BBC Sport.

football story on HP

The article (“Palestine lose 4-0 to Japan in first Asian Cup match“) did not however confine itself to the topic of football.

“Defender Tamer Salah said that their participation is as much about politics as it is about sport.

“Our people they just want to send a message for all over the world; we are human beings. It is our right to play football and we are not terrorists,” he told the BBC.”

The writer of this report however refrained from providing BBC audiences with the context that his decision to highlight that political statement (obviously irrelevant to the topic of the story itself) makes necessary. In fact, several former players for the Palestinian national squad have in the not too distant past been shown to have links to some of the numerous Palestinian organisations classified as terrorist groups – see here, here and here.

Linking to the BBC’s Palestinian territories profile, the original version of the report went on to tell readers:

“Efforts to create a Palestinian state on the West Bank of the River Jordan and Gaza on the Mediterranean coast have been frustrated by the continuing conflict with Israel.

The context of terrorism – including of course that of the second intifada – as a factor which has played a major part in ‘frustrating’ the establishment of a Palestinian state and has perpetuated the conflict was missing from that statement, perhaps explaining its later disappearance and replacement with the one below, which includes a dead link.

“More than 20 years of on-and-off peace talks with Israel have failed to secure an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

If only BBC Sports writers would stick to sport.

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