Omission and equivalence in BBC News report on rockets from Lebanon

Early on the evening of December 20th residents of communities in the Western Galilee region had to scramble for cover in air-raid shelters as sirens warned of incoming missiles from Lebanon. Lebanese media reported that the missiles were fired by a Palestinian terror group.

“According to reports in Lebanon, the rockets were fired from south of Tyre. According to Lebanese security officials cited on local media, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was behind the rocket fire. According to the report, the rockets were transported to the launch site from one of the Palestinian refugee camps near Tyre. According to the report, the attack was a symbolic response to the assassination of Samir Kuntar, attributed to an Israeli airstrike by Hezbollah. PFLP members have fired rockets at Israel from the same area in the past.”

Additional reports suggested that the PFLP-GC had claimed the missile fire.

“The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, a Syria-based Palestinian terror group, took responsibility for the rocket fire, according to Lebanese media cited by Israel’s Channel 2. […]

UNIFIL chief Luciano Portolano added that he was in contact with officials in Lebanon and Israel in a bid to restore calm.

“This is a serious incident in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and is clearly directed at undermining stability in the area. It is imperative to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of this attack. Additional troops have been deployed on the ground and patrols have been intensified across our area of operations in coordination with the LAF to prevent any further incidents,” Portolano said, according to the UNIFIL statement.”

Israel later responded to the attacks with artillery fire.missiles W Galilee 20 12

The BBC News website reported on the incident in an article carrying a headline implying equivalence between missile attacks aimed at civilian targets and retaliatory fire against the initiators of the attacks – “Fire traded over Israel-Lebanon border after militant’s death“. Notably, the headline once again uses the term “militant” to describe the murderer of four Israelis in 1979.

The very brief and superficial description of the incident found in that December 20th report failed to provide readers with any information about who launched the attacks which sparked the incident – but did name the responding party. The fact that the missiles were aimed at civilian communities and the ensuing dash by Israeli citizens for cover was apparently not considered newsworthy.

“Fire has been traded over the Israel-Lebanon border hours after a Lebanese militant was killed in a rocket strike in Syria.

The Israeli army said had fired artillery shells into southern Lebanon in response to rocket fire. There are no reports of injuries on either side.”

The rest of this article is comprised of text previously found in the BBC’s earlier report about Samir Kuntar and it hence recycles the issues appearing in that report. Problematic reporting was apparently not confined to the BBC’s English language website.

Tweet BBC persian Kuntar

Related Articles:

Terrorist murderer of four Samir Kuntar dubbed ‘militant’ by BBC News

Faux equivalence, ‘last-first’ reporting in BBC report on rocket attack from Lebanon

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