Disinformation in BBC WS radio report on protests in Israel

The first hour of the February 20th edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newsday’ included an item (from 13:33 here) about the ongoing mass protests in Israel.

Presenter Redi Tlhabi introduced that item as follows: [emphasis in bold added]

Tlhabi: “Let’s go to Israel now. The prime minister there, Benjamin Netanyahu, is pushing a reform that may weaken the country’s judicial system. Mr Netanyahu claims it will make it more representative of the majority’s views, as well as saying that the courts have been plotting his demise. However, his initiative has sparked a national crisis with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets to protest as they predict it will result in more bloodshed.”

In a later question to her interviewee Prof. Yaniv Roznai, Tlhabi stated:

Tlhabi: “So Mr Netanyahu has been mired for years in a corruption investigation. He’s said that the courts are out to get him, to paraphrase. Yet he’s claiming now that these reforms will be representative of the majority’s views. Do you believe him?”

Tlhabi offered no source for those two claims of statements allegedly made by Netanyahu concerning “the courts” and an extensive search by CAMERA UK in both Hebrew and English did not yield any relevant results. CAMERA UK has written to the BBC to ask it to disclose the source of Tlhabi’s claims. 

As for Tlhabi’s bizarre reference to “more bloodshed”, there have been no incidents of “bloodshed” related to either the protests themselves or the government initiative as implied by Tlhabi’s use of the word “more”. The protests concern the effects of the proposed changes to the law on Israel’s democracy and the way in which they are being advanced. Tlhabi’s claim that protesters have taken to the streets because they “predict” that the proposed reform “will result in more bloodshed” is totally unfounded and of course unevidenced.

Clearly this is not the standard of accurate and impartial reporting to which the BBC claims to adhere.

In her interview with the Israeli law professor Tlhabi first asked for an explanation of the topic and then proceeded to ask three questions. The second of those questions was:

Tlhabi: “These constitutional challenges; how might they impact Palestinians?”

Obviously BBC World Service radio finds it impossible to provide its listeners with information about a big domestic Israeli story without the insertion of superfluous yet predictable framing.

More from Hadar Sela
BBC idea of ‘balance’: presenting fact and fiction on an equal footing
On February 25th 2013 the BBC sent Jon Donnison off to the...
Read More
Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. says: Grimey

    Obviously the BBC uses a non-Jewish presenter and instructs her to ask irrelevant questions in the hope of demonising Israel a bit more. When will this bias ever stop?

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *