Accuracy fail in BBC report on Egyptian accusations against Hamas

An obviously basic requirement for any media report concerning the assassination of any public figure in any country is accurate representation of the date of the event.

On June 29th 2015 the chief prosecutor of Egypt at the time, Hisham Barakat, was killed in a car bombing near his home in Heliopolis and several other people were injured.

On March 6th 2016 an article titled “Egypt: Hamas linked to killing of prosecutor Hisham Barakat” appeared on the BBC News website’s Middle East page. The caption to the main photograph illustrating the report told readers that “Mr Barakat was killed in March 2015” and in the body of the article they were again informed that:

“Hisham Barakat died in hospital after a bomb attack on his car in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis in March 2015.”

Egypt Barakat assassination art

Notwithstanding the report’s headline, very little information is provided to readers with regard to the details of the allegations concerning the involvement of Hamas – which is euphemistically portrayed as a “Palestinian Islamist group” without any background information being provided concerning its links to the Muslim Brotherhood, its record of terrorism or its designation as a terrorist organization by numerous countries.

“Egypt has accused Palestinian Islamist group Hamas of involvement in the killing of Egypt’s public prosecutor. […]

“This plot was carried out on the orders of the Muslim Brotherhood… in close coordination with Hamas, which played a very important role in the assassination of the chief prosecutor from start to finish,” Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar told reporters.

He said Hamas had provided explosives and training in Gaza.”

Despite this being an article about statements made at a press conference by an Egyptian official concerning the investigation into Mr Barakat’s assassination, the BBC found it appropriate to shoehorn a completely unrelated and irrelevant reference to Israel into the report:

“Hamas has accused Egypt of collaborating with Israel to try to further isolate Gaza amid tension over Egypt’s closures of the Rafah border crossing and its destruction of tunnels between Gaza and Egypt.”

Was it that preoccupation with getting Israel into the story which left no time for the basic fact checking which would have prevented inaccurate portrayal of the date of the event which is at the core of the report?


The inaccurate date has now been corrected.

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