When does the BBC need ‘independent verification’ – and when not?

While reports of casualties in Syria come with a caveat, that is not uniform BBC practice.

As has been noted here recently, BBC reports on the events along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip since March 30th have repeatedly quoted and promoted Palestinian casualty figures provided by the “health ministry” without clarifying that it is controlled by Hamas – the terror group co-organising the ‘Great Return March’ – and thus obviously not an impartial or reliable source.

Moreover, in addition to there being nothing to suggest that the figures had been confirmed by the BBC itself before they were published and aired, audiences were not informed of that lack of independent verification.

There is of course nothing novel about the BBC unquestioningly promoting statistics supplied by the Hamas terror organisation: after all, it did exactly that during the summer 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Not only did the BBC fail to independently verify the casualty figures and civilian/combatant casualty ratios which it presented to its audiences during that conflict but – despite there also being no publicly available evidence of any such verification having been carried out after the conflict ended – it continued to quote and promote unverified data sourced from interested parties and has even defended its own use of statistics provided by a terrorist organisation.

In contrast, here is a statement appearing in a BBC News report from April 8th titled “Syria war: At least 70 killed in suspected chemical attack in Douma“.

Here is a statement appearing in another BBC report – titled “Syria conflict: Israel blamed for attack on airfield” – dating from April 9th.

In other words, while the BBC found it appropriate to tell audiences that the information in those two reports from Syria has not been independently verified, in reports concerning Israel it was once again perfectly happy to promote casualty figures provided by a terrorist organisation with no such caveat.

Related Articles:

The BBC’s reporting of statistics and Gaza casualty ratios

BBC Complaints defends its use of Hamas supplied casualty figures

 

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