2021 Summary: CAMERA Arabic in the British press

Throughout 2021 CAMERA Arabic contributed to seven articles appearing in the Jewish Chronicle, with all but one concerning the BBC’s Arabic language service. An additional story was published by The Daily Mail and later PinkNews.

On three occasions the BBC chose to answer the Jewish Chronicle’s inquiries as follows:

“BBC Arabic shares exactly the same principles of accuracy and impartiality as BBC News in English and we strongly reject the suggestion that its impartiality is compromised.”

Readers can judge the veracity of that claim for themselves based on the summary below.

February 3rd 2021, the Jewish Chronicle: Systematic BBC Arabic bias revealed’

Among the key findings provided by CAMERA Arabic for this Jewish Chronicle exposé are: 

  • the gap in coverage of terror attacks between BBC English language reporting and BBC Arabic
  • a Jew-free map of “Palestine” promoted by BBC Arabic’s radio station and Facebook page
  • an account of Israel-related corrections by BBC Arabic, reaching a pace of once a month over two years
  • an analysis of BBC Arabic’s Ahlam Tamimi scandal of October 2020.

The next weekend saw The Spectator follow up on the story with an op-ed by Jake Wallis Simons.

BBC Arabic promotes a partisan map of for children on radio and social media (October 2019), h/t: YCD

May 27th 2021, the Jewish Chronicle: Anti-Israeli bias among BBC staff who deal with the Middle East revealed’

As reported by the Jewish Chronicle, CAMERA Arabic prompted eight BBC Arabic corrections in the three weeks between April 28th and May 19th 2021. CAMERA Arabic also provided the Jewish Chronicle with a detailed account of the social media output of BBC Arabic employees in response to the May 2021 events – see here.

BBC Arabic correspondent laughs at an antisemitic joke told by Hamas spokesperson Abu ‘Ubayda on Twitter (May 2021)

July 5th 2021, the Daily Mail: Fury over gay slurs on BBC Arabic service’

BBC Arabic’s social media magazine “Trending” uncritically featured homophobic comments. A day later, the story also appeared in PinkNews.

BBC Arabic presenter reads out a comment arguing that Covid-19 came to Algeria as punishment for homosexuality (February 2020)

September 24th 2021, the Jewish Chronicle:  ‘EXCLUSIVE: BBC Arabic accused of ‘normalising Jew-hate’’

BBC Arabic’s social media magazine “Trending” uncritically featured antisemitic comments and manipulated others to make them appear more acceptable on air. 

BBC Arabic presenter reads out a comment alleging that “Zionist terrorism” masters the government of Germany (September 2019)

October 15th 2021, the Jewish Chronicle:  ‘Why does BBC find it hard to apologise to Jews?’

An op-ed by a CAMERA Arabic staff member, comparing the different BBC responses when homophobia and antisemitism – both featured on BBC Arabic’s “Trending” programme – were presented to the corporation.

October 21st 2021, the Jewish Chronicle:  ‘BBC ‘cancels’ Israeli-Arab gold medal Paralympian’

Although the BBC has corrected the report on its Arabic website which misrepresented a Jordanian Paralympic athlete as “the first Arab” to win a medal in Tokyo, two BBC Arabic YouTube entries still include the same error. To this day BBC Arabic has not clarified that  the Israeli athlete Iyad Shalabi was actually the first Arab to win a Paralympic medal in Tokyo.

BBC Arabic’s YouTube webpage misrepresents a Jordanian athlete as “first Arab” to win a Paralympic Gold medal (September 2021)

December 2nd 2021, the Jewish Chronicle:  ‘British TV channel glorified killer of Eli Kay as a ‘martyr’’

The UK based television station ‘al-Hiwar’ regularly praised terrorists as “martyrs” and has promoted the notion of the murder of Israeli civilians as “legitimate resistance”. The Jewish Chronicle followed up that story with coverage of complaints made by UK Lawyers for Israel  to Ofcom and the British police. CAMERA Arabic assisted with those complaints.

Al-Hiwar presenter and Palestinian Return Centre official Zaher Birawi calls the Sbarro suicide bombing of 2001 “legitimate resistance according to international law” (March 2021; video here, conversation on the legitimacy of the attack starts at 8:05)

December 9th 2021, the Jewish Chronicle:  ‘BBC journalist praised the ‘exquisite journalism’ of Holocaust revisionist’

Earlier this year, CAMERA Arabic called into question the impartiality of two BBC Arabic correspondents – Layla Bashar al-Kloub and Feras Kilani – on the grounds that they occasionally cover Israel-related affairs for the BBC despite having problematic social media records. That includes al-Kloub’s praise for the unrepentant Holocaust denier Muna Hawwa.

On November 28th, in response to al-Kloub uploading a video segment of herself covering anti-Israel protests in Jordan, CAMERA Arabic noted one of her tweets from 2016, asking:

“It is reasonable that a Jordanian journalist, who tweets that ‘the Zionist entity does not recognize any international law or agreement’ and that its people are ‘terrorists’, later gets the Israel-Jordan relations file in BBC, with British and international audiences expected to consider her coverage ‘impartial’”?

For three days, BBC Arabic and al-Kloub ignored our Tweet in Arabic. After CAMERA UK reposted it in English, al-Kloub deleted both her old tweet and the video segment in less than three hours

As reported by the Jewish Chronicle, CAMERA Arabic prompted the BBC to correct several errors in Feras Kilani’s analysis of Hamas. Additional details of those corrections will appear in a future post.

BBC Arabic Amman correspondent deletes her two tweets (December 2021)

 

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3 Comments

  1. says: Grimey

    As the standards of accuracy and impartiality on both are so low, the BBC’s comment that “BBC Arabic shares exactly the same principles ………… as BBC News in English” is, in fact, probably correct.

  2. says: Neil C

    Standards of accuracy? what standards? The BBC have none apart from Sharia Law which demands all action further the creation of a worldwide caliphate and subjugation of the infidel. It is time for non Muslims to wake up and smell the coffee #defundthebbc

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