Earlier in the week we noted that BBC Watch had submitted a complaint to the BBC concerning inaccurate portrayals of control of the Gaza Strip in three separate items of content.
We have now received the following reply:
“Thank you for getting in touch about our article reporting that more than 40 animals have been moved out of “terrible conditions” in a Gaza Strip zoo to a reserve in Jordan, a welfare group has announced (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-47848430).
We have since amended the article to now explain that:
Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank have been ruled separately since 2007, when deadly clashes broke between Hamas and the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas won parliamentary elections the previous year, and reinforced its power in Gaza after ousting Fatah from the enclave.
We have also added a correction note at the bottom outlining this change.
You also raise a fair point about our Palestinian territories profile and we have also since updated the profile and its timeline.
Thank you once again for taking the time and trouble to point this out.”
The footnote added to the April 8th article reads:
The BBC’s Palestinian territories profile previously told audiences that:
“The two PNA areas were then run by the separate factions – the West Bank by Fatah, and Gaza by Hamas – until a government of national unity assumed control of Gaza public institutions in October 2017.” [emphasis added]
That has now been amended to read:
“In October 2017, the rivals signed a reconciliation deal that was meant to see Hamas hand over administrative control of Gaza to the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, but disputes over disarmament have stalled any progress.”
The profile’s timeline previously read:
“2017 October – Hamas lets the Ramallah-based unity government take over public institutions in Gaza as part of a reconciliation process between the two rival administrations.”
That has also been amended:
“2017 October – Hamas signs a reconciliation deal intended to administrative control [sic] of Gaza transferred to the Palestinian Authority, but disputes stalled the deal’s implementation.”
While those long overdue corrections are of course welcome, the fact that BBC audiences were for 18 months inaccurately told that the Gaza Strip was under the control of a Palestinian unity government which did not exist is obviously cause for concern for a media outlet which likes to tout itself as “a provider of news that you can trust”.