BBC Arabic reports death of gun-running priest in partisan terminology

On January 2nd the BBC News website’s Middle East page published an English language report titled “Hilarion Capucci: Arms-smuggling archbishop dies aged 94“.

“A former Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Jerusalem who was convicted of smuggling arms for Palestinian militants has died aged 94.

Monsignor Hilarion Capucci served two years of a 12-year sentence in Israel before the Vatican helped secure his release.

He had a history of activism linked to Middle East conflicts.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered his condolences and described him as a great “freedom fighter”.”

The death of Capucci was also reported the previous day on the BBC Arabic website. In that report readers were told that Capucci had been imprisoned for four years rather than

A review of the article by a professional translator shows that – not for the first time – BBC Arabic reported the story using terminology which does not meet the BBC’s supposed standards of impartiality: the politicised language employed is of the type promoted by terror organisations and anti-Israel campaigners.  

In the article’s second paragraph Jerusalem as a whole is described as “the occupied city of Jerusalem” and readers are told that Capucci “was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces on charges of supporting the Palestinian resistance…”. [emphasis added]

The BBC Academy’s ‘style guide’ clearly states:

“There is no independent state of Palestine today, although the stated goal of the peace process is to establish a state of Palestine alongside a state of Israel.[…]

So, in day-to-day coverage of the Middle East you should not affix the name ‘Palestine’ to Gaza or the West Bank – rather, it is still an aspiration or an historical entity.”

In paragraph three of this article, however, readers are told that Capucci was “expelled from Palestine in 1978…”. [emphasis added]

Last month we noted here that the BBC World Service’s upcoming expansion once again raises “the longstanding issue of the accuracy and impartiality of content produced by the BBC’s foreign language services”.

Arabic speaking audiences can find plenty of Arabic language media outlets which will report news using non-neutral terminology.  It goes without saying that BBC Arabic should not be one of them.

Related Articles:

Gun-Running Bishop in Flotilla (CAMERA) 

BBC’s new foreign language services raise an old question

Why is BBC Arabic feeding its audiences politicised terminology?

More from Hadar Sela
BBC News amplifies Hizballah propaganda in report on Har Dov attack
On January 4th the BBC News website’s Middle East page published a...
Read More
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *