On September 9th a group of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip initiated a violent riot at the border fence east of al Bureij. The BBC did not report on the incident but later the same evening its Gaza correspondent Rushdi Abualouf sent the following Tweet:
Around half an hour later, he sent a second Tweet relating to the same incident.
Abualouf’s followers would of course have understood from those Tweets that Israel was responsible for the youth’s death. But is the amplified claim from the Hamas-controlled health ministry accurate and does Abualouf’s Tweeted report tell the whole story?
“Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said Abdel-Rahman Al-Dabbagh was killed by an Israeli bullet to the head during the border clash in the central Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military said troops had sought to contain the violence on the other side of the border fence and had used only tear gas.
“Dozens of rioters breached the buffer zone and attempted to damage the security (border) fence. … Forces stationed at the border used tear gas that led to the dispersal of the riot. Following a preliminary review, the Israel Defense Forces did not conduct the reported shooting,” a military statement said.”
Other media outlets made amendments to their reporting on the story after being contacted by CAMERA.
As readers may know, the BBC’s editorial guidelines apply to social media postings by its journalists as well as all other content and the corporation also has specific guidance relating to the use of social media.
“…when someone clearly identifies their association with the BBC and/or discusses their work, they are expected to behave appropriately when on the Internet, and in ways that are consistent with the BBC’s editorial values and policies.” […]
“Impartiality is a particular concern for those working in News and Current Affairs. Nothing should appear on their personal blogs or microblogs which undermines the integrity or impartiality of the BBC.”
Abualouf’s amplification of Hamas’ claim should obviously therefore have been balanced with an additional Tweet informing his followers of the IDF’s statement concerning the incident.