It is of course alarming that the fact that a BBC News report does not include Assad regime propaganda should be noteworthy – but that is the case with an article published on the BBC News website on January 13th under the headline “Syria accuses Israel of bombardment“.
As has been documented on these pages in the past, previous BBC News reports concerning alleged Israeli strikes on weapons shipments destined for the Lebanese terror group Hizballah have frequently been marred by the amplification of unchallenged Syrian regime propaganda which falsely accuses Israel of collaboration with anti-regime forces in Syria.
Most recently such amplification was seen in BBC reports from November 30th and December 7th 2016 which are recycled in this latest article in the form of links.
BBC News amplifies unchallenged Syrian regime propaganda yet again (November 30th, 2016)
More unquestioned amplification of Syrian regime propaganda from BBC News (December 7th, 2016)
On this latest occasion too, the Assad regime put out one of its pro forma statements:
““At 3:00 a.m., the Israeli enemy fired several surface-to-surface missiles from inside occupied territory,” the state news agency SANA said, citing a military source. The report said the Israeli missiles caused a large fire but no injuries or deaths.
The regime source also threatened “repercussions” against Israel over the strikes.
The Syrian military source called the alleged missile attack against the Mazzeh airbase part of “desperate attempts by the Israeli enemy to support terrorist groups and raise their low morale.””
However, this time round the BBC quoted just part of the statement and refrained from providing superfluous amplification of Syrian regime falsehoods, telling readers that:
“State-run Syrian news agency Sana reported explosions at the Mezzeh military airport and said ambulances were rushing to the scene.
The army was quoted as warning Israel “of the repercussions of the flagrant attack”, according to Reuters.”
The article also states:
“The Israeli government has previously neither confirmed nor denied that it carries out strikes in Syria.
It is thought to have bombed weapons shipments intended for Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement several times since Syria’s civil war began in 2011.”
Audience understanding of this story and similar ones would of course be greatly enhanced were the BBC to meet its public purpose remit by identifying the parties sending “weapons shipments” to Hizballah, by clarifying the fact that Hizballah is a terrorist organisation and by reminding readers that such supply of weapons is expressly forbidden under the terms of UNSC resolution 1701.
Reviewing BBC reporting of Hizballah’s violations of UNSC Resolution 1701