The BBC, own-goal journalism and the rise in antisemitism

Does the BBC live up to these claims and to audience expectations? Is an in-house complaints system fit for purpose in 2015 when most other regulatory bodies have outsourced complaints to the independent sector such as an ombudsman, Ofcom, Ofsted? Does the BBC meet its expectation to be accurate and fair, insightful and independent? How does this BBC aim sit alongside a free press, unencumbered by input that is set to frame the notion of what a better citizen might be?

Written by Sharon Klaff at Times of Israel

The Government appointed Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) has been taking evidence, both oral and written to determine the Future of the BBC, ahead of its current Royal Charter ending in December 2016. The BBC charter is renewable every decade, which represents a once in 10 year opportunity to have any input into BBC functionality. A brief glance at some of the evidence the DCMS has published, shows a general dissatisfaction with the in-house BBC complaints procedure. Randomly chosen from the DCMS website, Ian McNulty, writes:

My own conclusions are that the BBC will go to any lengths necessary to avoid admitting anything but the most self-evident mistakes, including breaking its own Editorial Guidelines and flying in the face of reason. Moreover, this culture of misrepresentation, denial and prejudice against non-consensus views is systemic and institutionalized at every level of the organization, from the bottom to the top.”

With the focus on BBC Middle East reporting and its effects on the rise of anti-Semitism in the UK, Campaign4Truth together with BBC Watch/Camera (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) presented three extraordinary UK events that brought record numbers to hear the rationale for the proposals presented to the DCMS this year.

Of particular concern are three areas that encompass historical record, the complaints system and anti-Semitism and extremism. The proposal includes recommendations to ensure:

  • the implementation of a recognised study course in the history, culture and geography of the region for all those working out of the Middle East;
  • the complaints system be transferred to an external body;
  • that the BBC work according to an accepted definition of anti-Semitism.

Read the rest of this post here.


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