Last week we noted that a report published on April 30th on the BBC News website’s ‘Europe’ and ‘Middle East’ pages under the headline “Hezbollah: Germany bans and raids Islamist group” misled readers with regard to the consequences of the German government’s decision by claiming that:
“The ban will enable authorities to put a stop to anti-Israel marches and the use of anti-Semitic slogans, observers say. Hezbollah flags and anti-Israel banners often appear at the annual al-Quds march in Berlin.” [emphasis added]
As noted here at the time:
“The identity of those quoted “observers” is not provided but obviously the German government’s move against Hizballah activity will not – as the BBC’s statement claims – ban anti-Israel demonstrations or antisemitic slogans in Germany. As reported by DW:
“The ban essentially criminalizes public expression of support for Hezbollah within Germany. Followers can no longer display the flag of the Lebanese militia, a green rifle on a yellow background.”
Reuters reported that:
“The move means that Hezbollah symbols are banned at gatherings and in publications or in the media and Hezbollah assets can be confiscated, said the ministry, adding as it is a foreign organisation, it is not possible to ban and dissolve it.””
CAMERA UK submitted a complaint to the BBC on that point and on May 13th we received the following response:
“Thank you for getting in touch about our article Hezbollah: Germany bans and raids Islamist group.
Observers have said that this will enable authorities to put a stop to anti-Israel marches and this was also reported by ARD and Sueddeutsche Zeitung:
The ban on Hezbollah, security circles say, should also serve to make it easier to implement bans in anti-Israeli marches. . In the past, Hezbollah flags and symbols were repeatedly shown and anti-Semitic slogans were chanted at these meetings.
According to security circles, the ban on Hezbollah that has now taken place should also serve to enable appropriate activities to be carried out during anti-Israeli marches. For example at the “Al Quds Day” planned for May 16 in Berlin. It is an annual protest at the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, which was launched by the Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini. At such gatherings, Hezbollah flags and symbols were repeatedly shown and anti-Semitic slogans were chanted in the past.
However, after considering the point further we have amended the sentence to now say:
“The ban will enable authorities to put a stop to anti-Israel marches where anti-Semitic slogans have been chanted, observers say”.”
The amended paragraph now reads:
“The ban will enable authorities to put a stop to anti-Israel marches where anti-Semitic slogans have been chanted, observers say. Hezbollah flags and anti-Israel banners often appear at the annual al-Quds march in Berlin.”
No footnote has been added to inform readers of the amendment and the the continued absenceof a corrections page on the BBC News website means that those who read the report when it was first published – and are of course unlikely to revisit it at a later date – will remain unaware that information they were given was inaccurate.