BBC News passes on follow-up to story it reported in March

The BBC reported on additions to UNESCO's cultural heritage list but not on a racism related removal.

On December 13th the BBC News website published a report about additions to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) ‘cultural heritage’ list.

“The back-cracking traditional Thai massage has been added to a prestigious Unesco heritage list.

Nuad Thai is now part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which features traditions and practices passed across the generations. […]

Other practices added to this year’s list include:

  • Irish harping
  • Celestinian forgiveness in Italy
  • The Carnival of Podence in Portugal
  • Silat self-defence in Malaysia”

Interestingly, the BBC’s report did not include any information about the unprecedented decision by UNESCO on the same day to remove an item from that list.

“UNESCO on Friday withdrew an annual carnival in the Belgian city of Aalst from its heritage list over persistent anti-Semitism.

In an unprecedented move, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage said it was withdrawing the carnival “over recurring repetition of racist and anti-Semitic representations” at the event.

The carnival of Aalst, in the Belgian Dutch speaking region of Flanders, was initially added to UNESCO’s list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2010.

But the presence in the parade of a float caricaturing Orthodox Jews with hooked noses and sitting on gold bags, outraged Belgium’s 40,000-strong Jewish community.”

That omission is especially notable given that in March of this year the BBC News website published a report headlined “Belgium anti-Semitism row over stereotyped Jews in carnival float” (and for some reason tagged ‘The Holocaust’) on its ‘Europe’ page.

“A float featuring stereotyped Jewish figures at a carnival near Brussels has been widely criticised as anti-Semitic.

The float in the town of Aalst, 25km (15 miles) from the European Parliament, featured the grinning figures of Orthodox Jews standing on large piles of money. […]

The Coordinating Committee of Jewish Organisations of Belgium and the Forum of Jewish Organisations issued a joint statement saying they had lodged a formal complaint with authorities.”

As noted in that report, the antisemitic representations were also condemned by the European Commission at the time.

Nevertheless, the BBC has chosen to ignore the follow-up to that story it reported nine months ago.

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