BBC’s ‘historical record’ compromised by absence of follow-up reporting

Anyone searching online for BBC content providing information about the September 13th 2015 rock-throwing attack which caused the death of Alexander Levlovich – regarded as having been the first incident in the surge of terrorism that began in the autumn of 2015 – will find the following vague descriptions of the incident: [all emphasis added]Alexander Levlovich

1) “The Israeli prime minister has vowed to “use all necessary means” to stop stone throwers after an Israeli man died in a car crash linked to such an attack. […]

Alexander Levlovitz died in a car accident apparently caused by a rock-throwing attack in Jerusalem. […]

Mr Levlovitz died and two passengers were reportedly injured after their car was pelted with stones on Monday. Police are investigating the incident.” (BBC News website, September 16th, 2015)

2) “On Monday an Israeli man died after his car was pelted with rocks.” (BBC News website, September 16th, 2015)

3) “An Israeli motorist died earlier in the week in an accident apparently caused by a rock-throwing attack in Jerusalem.” (BBC News website, September 19th, 2015)

The wording used in those reports clearly fails to give readers any idea of the identity of the perpetrators of the attack and their motives. Moreover, when the arrest of suspects was announced two weeks after the attack, the BBC refrained from covering the story.

Over a year later, one of the people arrested at the time has been sentenced.

“The minor involved in the murder of Alexander Levlovich, 64, whose death came to signify the beginning of last year’s wave of terror across Israel, received a prison sentence of nine years Monday morning as part of a plea bargain in which he confessed to all charges leveled against him and agreed to testify against four other accomplices. […]

The indictment against the terrorists was submitted a year ago, while the plea bargain on behalf of the minor was submitted Monday morning. As part of the latter, the charges were reduced from manslaughter to accessory to manslaughter. […]

According to the indictment, on the eve of Rosh Hashana in 2015, the accused individuals met with the intention of throwing rocks at cars driven by Jews on main roads in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem as part of acts defined as “retaliation and solidarity” in the wake of riots on the Temple Mount.

The four offenders hurled rocks at a number of vehicles before hitting that belonging to Levlovich, causing him to swerve off the road and crash into a tree. He was later pronounced dead.

The four terrorists fled the scene and later attempted to establish a consistent version of what had transpired in the event that they were arrested.”

Back in June 2014 the BBC’s Director of Editorial Policy and Standards – David Jordan – described the corporation’s online content as follows:

“Our online news is far more accessible today than the newspaper archives of libraries. But in principle there is no difference between them: both are historical records. […]…the BBC’s online archive is a matter of historic public record…” [emphasis added]

The absence of any follow-up to the BBC’s reporting on this story (and many similar ones) means that despite suspects having been arrested, indicted and one already sentenced, as far as the BBC’s “historic public record” is concerned, Mr Levlovich’s death was still “apparently” caused by “a rock-throwing attack” and BBC audiences have no idea who carried out that attack or that it was in fact an act of terror.  

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