Our monthly round-up of the BBC News coverage of terror attacks in Israel (see related articles below) enables us to take a broader look at the corporation’s coverage of that subject throughout the six months since the latest surge in terrorism began.
During that time the Israel Security Agency has documented a total of 1,639 attacks, ninety of which – i.e. 5.49% – have received coverage on the BBC News website.
Thirty-three people – Israelis and foreign nationals – have been killed in those attacks since October 1st 2015 and hundreds wounded. Three of those fatalities (9%) were not reported at all by the BBC and of the casualties which were reported, twelve people (i.e. 40%) were not identified by name. Only four of the victims had their photographs published by the BBC.
The BBC’s public purpose remit includes ‘Global Outlook’ which is interpreted by the BBC Trust as meaning that audiences “can expect the BBC to keep them in touch with what is going on in the world, giving insight into the way people live in other countries” and includes the pledge to “build a global understanding of international issues” and “enhance UK audiences’ awareness and understanding of international issues”.
With the BBC having reported less than five and a half percent of the terror attacks against Israelis during the past six months and having failed to provide information concerning the overall scale of attacks, it is obvious that its audiences are not being kept “in touch” or provided with full “insight” as promised and that their “awareness and understanding” of this particular international issue is therefore impaired.
The importance of the absence of that information lies in the fact that audiences are thus unable to properly understand Israeli counter-terrorism measures such as the anti-terrorist fence or checkpoints. It also means that when Israel is obliged to respond to rising terrorism, audiences are unable to put events into their appropriate context and are thus likely to reach uninformed and inaccurate conclusions.