A reader who complained to the BBC about inadequacies in its coverage of the BDS campaign in three separate reports aired on television, radio and the internet in July received a reply from the BBC complaints department which was unsatisfactory and so contacted the complaints department again. The second reply received – this time from the ‘BBC News website’ with no name attached – includes the following interesting statement:
“We cover events as they happen and have reported on the Matisyahu affair. It is not our role to seek out any “true agenda” but to report events fairly and accurately.” [emphasis added]
Quite how the anonymous writer of that response thinks it is possible to report accurately and fairly about the BDS movement’s anti-Israel campaigning without informing audiences what that campaign really seeks to achieve remains unclear.
Notably however, when the EDL appeared on the scene in the summer of 2009 the BBC clearly did not think that it was ‘not our role to seek out any “true agenda”‘. At that time it found it editorially justifiable to send a Newsnight reporter to get “Under the skin of the EDL“, to devote an entire article to explaining “Who are the English Defence League?” in which it tried to clarify to readers “who are they and what do they stand for?” and to present audiences with views of the organization’s agenda in its day-to-day related coverage.
So interestingly, whilst the BBC obviously found it necessary and appropriate to provide its audiences with the full range of information concerning one organization targeting people on the basis of their religion and ethnicity, a similarly candid approach is absent from its coverage of the BDS campaign – which does exactly the same.