As documented previously, on January 28th listeners to BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service radio repeatedly heard Husam Zomlot described as “the Palestinian ambassador to the UK” and “the Palestinian ambassador to London”.
BBC Watch submitted a complaint pointing out that the BBC had corrected a similar misrepresentation of Mr Zomlot’s title in 2018 and that although the UK does not currently recognise a Palestinian state, by referring to Mr Zomlot as an ambassador the BBC suggests that it does and therefore misleads audiences.
On February 6th we received the following reply:
“Thank you for contacting us regarding the Today programme and Newshour, both broadcast on Tuesday 28th January.
We have spoken with senior staff about your concerns. We acknowledge the point that Husam Zomlot is not strictly speaking an ambassador, although the phrase is in common parlance in the media. We will remind editors of his actual title, but it is clear from our wider reporting that the UK does not recognise Palestine as a state.”
In other words the BBC is obviously not concerned by the fact that members of the public who access any of those three programmes during the time they are still available online will be misled by the misrepresentation of Zomlot’s title because it is “common parlance in the media” – which apparently takes precedence over BBC editorial guidelines on accuracy.