On June 4th the BBC News website’s Middle East page published an article now titled “Israel PM Netanyahu attacks Orange boss for pulling deal“, changes to which can be viewed here.
The BBC’s tepid description of FIDH as “a Paris-based NGO” fails to provide audiences with any insight into the organisation’s political agenda – information which is obviously crucial if readers are to be able to put its statement quoted and promoted by the BBC into the correct context. For example, the writer of this report could have reminded readers that FIDH was one of a group of political NGOs (again, along with Al Haq) which last summer led a lawfare campaign against Israel.
The article also includes the standard BBC mantra which fails to comply with BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality by neglecting to inform audiences of the existence of legal opinions which contradict the view exclusively promoted by the BBC.
We have noted many times before on these pages that whilst the BBC often provides a platform for proponents of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel (and no less frequently some of its own journalists can also be found amplifying and mainstreaming that campaign), the corporation consistently fails to provide its audiences with the full facts about the aims and motivations of BDS.
In this report we find an interesting use of the “Israel says” formula: the BBC’s way of telling audiences that it does not confirm the information provided.
Editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality would obviously require the BBC to clarify to audiences that the BDS campaign’s constant delegitimisation and demonization of Israel is not its end game. Those methods are part of a toolbox aimed at influencing global public opinion with the intention – as BDS activists freely admit – of bringing about an end to the Jewish state and denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination.
Until the BBC provides its funding public with the full range of factual information about the BDS campaign and its real aims, it cannot abide by its own editorial guidelines and it cannot meet its public purpose remit of building “global understanding of international issues”.