Thumbs up for BBC News’ Temple Mount archaeology report

On September 6th the BBC News website published its own version of a story currently making headlines in Israel under the title “Jerusalem Biblical Temple floor designs ‘restored’“.temple-mount-flooring-story

Given the BBC’s record of inaccurate reporting on Temple  Mount, it was encouraging to see that this article avoided many of the issues seen in the past.

Earlier this year we documented changes in the terminology used by the BBC to describe the site and the replacement of the title Haram al Sharif with the politicised term ‘Al Aqsa Mosque compound’. This latest report adhered to the guidelines set out in the BBC Academy’s ‘style guide’.

“Archaeologists in Jerusalem say they have for the first time reconstructed likely designs of a Biblical Jewish temple floor using original fragments.

Experts reassembled pieces of tiles found amid tons of earth from the site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.”

In the past we have also seen BBC reports in which audiences were inaccurately led to believe that the Western Wall is Judaism’s holiest site. This article gave readers an accurate representation of the significance of the site to Jews and Muslims.  

“The plateau where the temples stood is the most sacred site in Judaism. It is joined by the Western Wall, venerated by Jews as part of the original supporting wall of the temple compound.

Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) is also the place where the Koran says the Prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven, and is the third holiest site in Islam.”

The article even provided a reasonable – and rare – account of why the Temple Mount Sifting Project came into being.

“The Temple Mount Sifting Project was established by Israeli archaeologists in 2004 to examine debris dumped by Islamic authorities following expansion work at an underground mosque on the compound.”

One can but hope that the standard of accurate reporting seen in this report concerning archaeology will also find its way into BBC News’ reporting on political stories concerning Temple Mount.

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Mapping changes in the terminology used by the BBC to describe Temple Mount

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