BBC News website reporting on the deaths of journalists

On November 21st the BBC News website published a report – tagged ‘Press freedom’ – by Lipika Pelham headlined ‘Lebanon PM says Israeli strikes killed journalists’ which relates to the deaths earlier in the day of two journalists from Al Mayadeen. Despite that media outlet’s known pro-Hizballah stance, Pelham clearly saw no issue with promotion of its propaganda messaging and no need to verify its allegation that the two journalists were “deliberately targeted”.

“Al Mayadeen, a Beirut-based Arabic TV channel, said its reporter Farah Omar and cameraman Rabih al-Maamari were “deliberately targeted” as they reported from Tayr Harfa, a village about 2km (1.2 miles) from the border.

“An Israeli warplane fired two rockets on Farah and Rabih’s location,” it said.

“Farah and Rabih had just ended a live broadcast at 10 AM [08:00 GMT], giving updates on the latest Israeli bombardment in South Lebanon.””

Pelham refrained from informing her readers about Farah Omar’s praise for Hamas’ October 7th brutal massacre of Israeli civilians on social media before going on to amplify more propaganda:

“Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency (NNA) said another civilian, whom it named as Hussein Aqeel, was killed. Al Mayadeen’s director, Ghassan bin Jiddo, said he was a “contributor”.

“This attack proves once again that there are no limits to Israeli crimes, and that its only goal is to silence the media that exposes its crimes and attacks,” Lebanese Prime Minister Nabjib Mikati said, according to NNA.”

Moreover, Pelham herself goes on to promote the false notion that Israel ‘attacks journalists’: [emphasis added]

“The IDF has previously insisted that it does not deliberately target journalists, but this would appear to be the third attack on journalists working in southern Lebanon since the start of the war.”

As is evident later in her report, one of the incidents to which Pelham is referring is the death of a Reuters photographer on October 13th. The BBC News website’s live page reported that incident:

The other is an incident that took place on November 13th in which Al Jazeera claimed that a photographer was lightly wounded.

Pelham’s portrayal of the background to her story includes the following:

“Earlier, Israeli aircraft struck what the military said were “terrorist cells” in the border area as well as targets belonging to the Lebanese group Hezbollah, which has repeatedly fired missiles and mortar shells across the border since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip six weeks ago.”

Her use of the phrase “repeatedly fired” obviously does not adequately inform BBC audiences of the scale of Hizballah’s missile attacks on Israel (over 1,000 as of November 19th) and Pelham makes no effort to inform BBC audiences of the relevant context of UN SC resolution 1701, according to which Hizballah should not be anywhere near the border with Israel.

Additional BBC News website reporting on journalists and/or their families killed since October 7th has included a stand-alone piece titled ‘Wael Al-Dahdouh: Al Jazeera reporter’s family killed in Gaza strike’ by Kathryn Armstrong which was published on October 26th.

“Al Jazeera said it was “deeply concerned about the safety, and well-being of our colleagues in Gaza and hold the Israeli authorities responsible for their security”.

“We urge the international community to intervene and put an end to these attacks on civilians, thereby safeguarding innocent lives.”

At least 24 journalists have been killed so far in the latest conflict between Israel and Gaza, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.”

On October 31st the BBC News website published a report by Fergal Keane headlined ‘Reporting on Gaza: ‘Sometimes from behind the camera I just stand and cry’’. While most of that report is dedicated to a freelance journalist working with the BBC’s bureau in the Gaza Strip, it also includes the following:

“This war is proving to be one of the most dangerous for journalists in recent times. More than 30 have been killed so far. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has said those in Gaza are paying an unprecedented toll.

“This is a deadly time for journalists in Gaza,” says Sherif Mansour, the Middle East expert of the CPJ.

“We have seen more journalists killed in the last close to three weeks than have been killed over 21 years of covering this conflict. A lot of journalists have lost colleagues, family homes, and they were forced to flee where there is no safe haven or exit.”

In a close-knit community of journalists in places like Gaza it is inevitable that the loss of colleagues reverberates intimately.”

The report continues with a tribute from a friend of a “smiling” photographer called Ibrahim Lafi. Keane’s reporting does not inform readers that Lafi was killed on October 7th at the Erez Crossing as Hamas terrorists stormed the border with Israel.

On November 3rd the BBC News website published a filmed report titled ‘Gaza reporter removes protective vest after learning of colleague’s death’.

“A Palestine TV news anchor and a reporter broke down on air after learning their colleague was killed in an explosion in Gaza.

Mohammad Abu Hatab, a reporter for Palestine TV, died with members of his family in an Israeli strike on his home in Khan Younis, the broadcaster said. […]

At least 27 Palestinian journalists have been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian journalists’ union, since the Israel-Gaza war began.

When questioned about Mohammad Abu Hatab’s death, Israel’s military said it does not target journalists.”

On November 7th the BBC News website published a report by Ali Abbas Ahmadi headlined ‘Gaza journalist killed alongside 42 relatives, news agency says’.

“A Palestinian reporter has been killed alongside 42 family members, his news agency says, as a watchdog said the past month had been the most deadly for journalists since its records began.

The Wafa news agency said Mohammad Abu Hasira was killed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza City.”

Notably, that report – published exactly a month after Hamas initiated the current war – includes the following:

“At least 37 journalists had been killed since the war began, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said.

These include 32 Palestinians, four Israelis and one Lebanese.”

Later in the report readers find the following:

“Two Israeli photographers, Roee Idan and Yaniv Zohar, and members of their families were killed when Hamas attacked kibbutzes [sic] Kfar Aza and Nahal Oz on 7 October.

Two Israeli reporters, Shai Regev and Ayelet Arnin, were killed during the Hamas attack on the Supernova music festival on the same day, Israeli media reported.”

Insofar as we are aware, that is the sole mention of the four Israeli journalists – Roee Idan of Ynet, Yaniv Zohar of Israel Hayom, Shai Regev of Ma’ariv and Ayelet Arnin of Kan News – to have appeared on the BBC News website.

Certainly BBC audiences have not seen any stand-alone reporting on the murders of any of those four journalists; no pictures of them and no tributes from family, friends or colleagues.

A BBC feature concerning hostages held in the Gaza Strip mentions Roee Idan’s three-year-old daughter but not the fact that her father was a journalist.

We have documented the limitations of the BBC’s interest in the topic of the safety of journalists in the past. The fact it took a month for the BBC News website to come up with the grand total of two paragraphs about four Israeli journalists all brutally murdered by Hamas terrorists on the same day, even as it continues its long-running amplification of propaganda – including from dubious third parties – that Israel targets journalists, is certainly worthy of note.

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  1. says: Neil C

    This is a war situation, a fight for the very survival of Israel and the residents of Israel that are totally surrounded by Muslim Arab countries who wish to go against the teaching of the Quran and kill all the Jews and wipe Israel off the map. With all the world’s press and TV reporters, sound men and camera men running round in a war zone, (I believe in excess of 200) what do they expect apart from devine martyrdom. If they were not so fanatical about delegitimizing Israel and trying to demonize Jews in the eyes of the world there would be a lot less antisemitism in the world and a lot less journalist casualties. The BBC whilst not as bad as Al Jaz, are still pretty poor, totally biased against Israel owing to the hatred and lies spewed out by Bowen and his motley gang of antisemites. Never yet have I seen Bowen apologise openly on TV and this latest one with the Al Shiffa hospital, where he effectively was calling the IDF liars claiming that there was not any evidence, he should resign from his overpaid job. #defundthebbc

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