PROMOTED AND QUOTED: THE BBC’S PREFERRED NGO CONTRIBUTORS IN 2020

Since 2013 (see ‘related articles’ below) we have documented contributions and/or information sourced from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) appearing in the BBC’s Israel related content.

Often portrayed by the BBC as ‘human rights groups’, those inherently agenda-driven organisations make no claim to provide unbiased information and are obviously not obligated to the BBC’s editorial guidelines.

The BBC’s collaboration with political NGOs comes in a variety of forms. In some cases people associated with NGOs are interviewed or quoted in BBC reporting – but their links to those organisations are not adequately clarified.

For example a report by Orla Guerin aired on BBC One in January included a contribution from a person described as a “community organiser” who actually works as campaigns director for the political NGO Avaaz. In the same report Guerin promoted a quote from an unidentified “analyst” who holds a senior position at the NGO International Crisis Group (ICG):

INADEQUATELY PRESENTED INTERVIEWEES AND AN ANONYMOUS QUOTE IN BBC ONE GUERIN REPORT  

In March a BBC travel show featured an interviewee described as “a travel writer and guide” who is associated with the Parents Circle Families Forum:

BBC TRAVEL SHOW BRINGS IN POLITICAL ACTIVIST ON JERUSALEM ARCHAEOLOGY

One version of “an investigation by BBC News Arabic” aired in September featured the public activity coordinator of the NGO Ir Amim without any identification:

BBC ARABIC’S FINCEN ‘INVESTIGATION’ AMPLIFIES A WELL-WORN POLITICAL NARRATIVE

Another employee of Ir Amim, described only as an “Israeli activist”, appeared in a BBC-commissioned audio documentary aired in October which – unknown to audiences – was produced by a team including members of the political NGO If Not Now:

BBC COMMISSIONS ISRAEL ‘DOCUMENTARY’ FROM AMERICAN POLITICAL ACTIVISTS

Similarly, the connection of the producer of a BBC Radio 4 documentary aired in November to the UK branch of the New Israel Fund was not disclosed to listeners:

BBC R4 FAILS TO DISCLOSE RELEVANT AFFILIATIONS OF PRODUCER OF RABIN ASSASSINATION PROGRAMME

Also in November, BBC World Service radio interviewed a person described as a “young Palestinian woman” without disclosing that she was the featured face in a video related to the item’s subject matter made by an organisation called ‘The Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy’:

BBC WS RADIO PORTRAYAL OF US SECRETARY OF STATE VISIT TO ISRAEL

More frequently the BBC directly amplifies statements and/or campaign material produced by NGOs – sometimes including links to their websites.

When the political agendas of campaigning groups and journalism meet, questions obviously arise concerning accuracy, impartiality and reliability. One of the few safeguards in place comes in the form of the section titled ‘Contributors’ Affiliations’ in the BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality which, since their overhaul in July 2019, states:

“4.3.12 We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities and think-tanks) are unbiased. Appropriate information about their affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints should be made available to the audience, when relevant to the context.” [emphasis added]

However, throughout 2020 we once again documented numerous examples of that instruction not having been upheld in Middle East related content sourced in one way or another from political NGOs and their representatives.

In February the BBC News website twice quoted (and linked to) the political NGO B’tselem which it described only as a “human rights group”. The political NGO ‘Peace Now’ was also quoted in one of the reports:

REVIEWING BBC NEWS WEBSITE COVERAGE OF THE US ‘PEACE TO PROSPERITY’ PLAN

February also saw the publication of a report promoting a quote from Human Rights Watch:

BBC NEWS REPORT ON UNHRC BLACKLIST CONCEALS MORE THAN IT REVEALS

In the same month BBC Radio 4 aired an interview with the author of a book inspired by “two bereaved fathers [who] came together through an organisation called Combatants for Peace”. Listeners were however told nothing about the agenda of that political NGO or the organisation with which the two men are currently associated.

BBC RADIO 4’S PROMOTION OF AN ‘EPIC NOVEL’ AND AN APPEALING NARRATIVE

In March the BBC programme ‘Hardtalk’ interviewed the director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme without providing any information concerning its “affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints”.

BBC’S ‘HARDTALK’ PROMOTES HALF A STORY FROM 2014

A BBC News website report from the same month quoted the NGO ACRI:

EXAMINING BBC REPORTS ON CORONA-RELATED CELL PHONE TRACKING

In April BBC World Service radio listeners heard from a Gaza Strip based employee of Oxfam:

MORE CORONA-HOOKED GAZA STRIP MESSAGING ON BBC WS RADIO

Later in the month the BBC quoted a statement from Physicians for Human Rights in Israel without providing any information about that NGO.

BBC NEWS CONTINUES TO PUSH INACCURATE GAZA HEALTHCARE NARRATIVE

In June the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman quoted the founder of Kerem Navot, which he described only as an “Israeli non-governmental organisation”:

BATEMAN’S ‘ANNEXATION’ ROAD TRIP REVEALS NOTHING NEW TO BBC AUDIENCES

An “investigation by BBC News Arabic” aired in September featured substantial comment from Hagit Ofran of the organisation ‘Peace Now’. Viewers heard nothing about the significant funding from foreign governments received by that NGO or its political agenda. 

BBC ARABIC’S FINCEN ‘INVESTIGATION’ AMPLIFIES A WELL-WORN POLITICAL NARRATIVE

Listeners to BBC World Service radio in October heard comment on an Israel related story from the director of Forward Thinking without any information concerning that organisation’s funding, affiliations and “particular viewpoints” being provided:

BBC’S MULTI-PLATFORM OLIVE HARVEST BINGE CONTINUES

A BBC News website report published in November included quotes from UN OCHA – and a link to its website – as well as B’Tselem, which has received funding from UN OCHA in the past:

BBC REPORTS ERASE FOREIGN FUNDING OF ILLEGAL STRUCTURES IN AREA C

Another BBC News website report published the same month quoted – and linked to – Peace Now which it described as an “Israeli anti-settlement group”:

BBC NEWS BREACHES IMPARTIALITY GUIDELINES YET AGAIN IN REPORT ON GIVAT HAMATOS

Also in November, listeners to BBC World Service radio heard from a Gaza-strip based employee of Medical Aid for Palestinians, with no background information on that NGO provided:

BBC WS RADIO GAZA STRIP REPORTS DEMONSTRATE IMPARTIALITY FAILINGS

In December listeners to the same radio station heard from the head of B’tselem which was inadequately presented as a “campaign group” despite the fact that one of its foreign donors is the European Union: the same body financing illegal construction in Area C which was the topic of the report.

BBC’S YOLANDE KNELL DITCHES CRITICAL JOURNALISM TO PROMOTE EU AND NGO CAMPAIGNS

As in previous years, another feature seen in BBC News website reports throughout 2020 was the promotion of politically partisan and inaccurate maps sourced from B’tselem:

BBC NEWS REPORT ON UNHRC BLACKLIST CONCEALS MORE THAN IT REVEALS

MORE BBC NEWS PROMOTION OF ITS POLITICISED NARRATIVE ON JERUSALEM

BBC NEWS MISREPRESENTS ‘PREVIOUS US POSITIONS’

REVIEWING THE BBC’S ‘ANNEXATION’ BACKGROUNDER – PART ONE

BBC NEWS AGAIN AMPLIFIES OPPOSITION TO APPLICATION OF ISRAELI CIVIL LAW

BATEMAN’S ‘ANNEXATION’ ROAD TRIP REVEALS NOTHING NEW TO BBC AUDIENCES

INACCURACIES IN BBC ARABIC’S ‘SETTLEMENTS’ BACKGROUNDER

BBC NEWS BREACHES IMPARTIALITY GUIDELINES YET AGAIN IN REPORT ON GIVAT HAMATOS

As in previous years, the political agendas of the NGOs quoted and promoted were routinely not adequately clarified to audiences as demanded by BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality. Despite the amendments made to those guidelines in July 2019, audiences yet again heard nothing at all about the foreign funding of any of the Israeli NGOs featured in its content. There is clearly little point to such guidelines if BBC journalists serially ignore them in such a flagrant manner.

The BBC’s repeated failure to enforce its own editorial guidelines by ensuring that the “particular viewpoint” (which in certain cases includes the fact that they are involved in lawfare campaigns against Israel) of quoted NGOs and their representatives is adequately clarified means that audiences are unaware of the fact that the information they are receiving comes overwhelmingly from one side of the political spectrum and hence provides an unbalanced view of often complex issues.

Related Articles:

Promoted and quoted: the BBC’s preferred Middle East NGOs

Promoted and quoted: the BBC’s preferred NGO contributors in 2014

Promoted and quoted: the BBC’s preferred NGO contributors in 2015

Promoted and quoted: the BBC’s preferred NGO contributors in 2016

Promoted and quoted: the BBC’s preferred NGO contributors in 2017

Promoted and quoted: the BBC’s preferred NGO contributors in 2018

PROMOTED AND QUOTED: THE BBC’S PREFERRED NGO CONTRIBUTORS IN 2019

 

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1 Comment

  • Every facet of possible deception of the infidel, a practice which is acceptable provided it benefits Islam, is being practiced by the BBC and its biased Israel and Jew-hater reporters. It amazes me that the government and vast swathes of the general public are blind to the blatant racist bias and deception being practiced in order to facilitate the eventual introduction of shariah law and introduce a Western caliphate.

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