BBC News website amends Bnei Brak report

Last week we documented erroneous claims which were included in a BBC News website report published on April 3rd about the outbreak of Covid 19 in the Israeli town of Bnei Brak.

BBC News misleads on Covid 19 cases in Bnei Brak

As noted at the time, BBC Watch submitted a complaint relating to that report but in light of the fact that the BBC complaints procedure is currently once again functioning at less than optimal levels, we also contacted BBC Trending which had put out a request for members of the public to contact them in relation to “Coronavirus fake news”.

BBC Trending quickly responded and we subsequently received the following reply from BBC Complaints:

“Thank you for getting in touch about our article Coronavirus: Ultra-Orthodox Israeli town of Bnei Brak under lockdown.

After considering your point we’ve amended the article to make clear that this claim was refuted and added a line explaining:

However, Israeli media later reported that according to the Ministry of Health and Maccabi officials the figure was the result of a miscalculation.

We’ve also added a correction note at the bottom of the article advising readers of this change.

Please accept our apologies for this error and thank you for taking the time and trouble to make us aware of it.”

The report originally read:

“A senior health official said almost 40% of the town’s 200,000 inhabitants probably had the virus.”

And:

“On Thursday, the head of a health service used by about half the population of Bnei Brak said about 38% of residents were likely to have the virus, and that there were probably tens of thousands of cases which had not been officially confirmed.”

The amended version of the report now reads:

“A senior health official said almost 40% of the town probably had the virus, though his claim was refuted.”

And:

“On Thursday, the head of the Maccabi health service used by about half the 200,000-strong population of Bnei Brak told a parliamentary committee that about 38% of residents were likely to have the virus, and that there were probably tens of thousands of cases which had not been officially confirmed.

However, Israeli media later reported that according to the Ministry of Health and Maccabi officials the figure was the result of a miscalculation.”

The footnote added to the article states:

 

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