In early August, during Operation Breaking Dawn, we documented the appearance of a filmed report lacking essential context on the BBC News website:
“Not only did the BBC fail to clarify that the building concerned was used by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, it also refrained from informing viewers that the residents had been instructed to evacuate before the attack took place, despite that fact being known to the BBC.”
CAMERA UK submitted a complaint raising those points and on August 23rd we were informed (as has become almost inevitably the case) that it would take more time to address the issues. On September 13th the BBC informed us that the time frame for addressing our complaint had expired.
On October 19th – over two months after the complaint had been submitted – we received the following response from the BBC:
“Thank you for getting in touch about our video article Israel-Gaza: Emergency services respond after air strike hits building in Gaza and please accept our apologies for the long delay in our response.
This was a package of agency footage from the 6th August and we think it would be apparent to readers that had the building been occupied, it is likely there would have been plenty of pictures of the human consequences.
However there are no such pictures, no casualties are shown and the strike is seen to take place in view of photographers.
We saw some rescue service activity, but the emergency services would of course have to respond anyway because it’s still entirely possible there would be casualties.
In terms of the building being used by PIJ, our article will have reported what we could confirm at the time.
However after considering your point further we have added a line to the article’s accompanying text which explains that:
The Israeli military had earlier warned residents to evacuate the block.”
Given the continued absence of a dedicated corrections page on the BBC News website, it is obvious that this very belated amendment will not be seen by the vast majority of people who viewed that report over two months ago.
Once again it is clear that the BBC’s tardy and ineffective complaints procedure does not serve the interests of audiences – or accurate and impartial journalism.