A report published on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page on March 1st was presented as follows:
The article itself – titled “Syria war: Chlorine likely used in Douma attack – OPCW” and tagged “Suspected Syria chemical attack” – similarly told readers that:
“The global chemical weapons watchdog has concluded chlorine is likely to have been used in an attack on the Syrian town of Douma last April.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said data gave “reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place”.
“This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine,” it added, without assigning blame.” [emphasis added]
With readers having been told that the OPCW had not specified which party had carried out the attack (but not why), the short report then went on to uncritically amplify Syrian regime denials which have already been proved to be baseless and Russian regime propaganda concerning the ‘White Helmets’.
“The US, UK and France accused Syrian government forces, who were besieging Douma, of using chemical weapons in the 7 April attack, and carried out air strikes in retaliation.
The Syrian government has denied ever using chemical weapons. Its ally Russia has said the attack was “staged” by rescue workers.”
Only some thirteen hours later did the BBC find it appropriate to amend the article in order to inform visitors to the BBC News website that:
“In June, the OPCW was given new powers to assign blame for chemical attacks. However, it was not the mandate of the fact-finding team sent to Douma to do so.”
As we see the BBC continues its policy of promoting false balance in the form of claims from Syria and Russia – despite both those regimes having been shown to have lied about previous chemical attacks.
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