More BBC amplification of Al Jazeera’s ‘targeting journalists’ falsehood

In May 2023 the BBC Jerusalem bureau’s Tom Bateman promoted a report concerning Israel produced by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).


As we noted at the time:

“Bateman’s report is hence nothing more than churnalism: the uncritical amplification of a press release or a report put out by a third party. While that practice is not rare at the BBC, it is worth noting that this particular narrative – and not least its connection to the topic of the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, which Bateman and his colleagues have vigorously promoted over the past year – links to an unevidenced allegation that some BBC journalists have been promoting for many years.

Needless to say, the safety of journalists while doing their job is an important issue. So too is the abuse of journalism and journalists by terrorist organisations and repressive regimes but neither Tom Bateman nor the CPJ appear to be overly interested in that aspect of the story they chose to promote.”

Since October 7th, BBC promotion of the false allegation that Israel ‘targets journalists’ has increased:



A significant number of the stories unquestioningly promoted by the BBC include accusations made by the Qatari media outlet Al Jazeera. The BBC has however repeatedly failed to inform its audiences that Al Jazeera is run by the same state which funds and hosts the Hamas terrorist organisation or that – as the BBC well knows – it is already party to ‘lawfare’ petitions against Israel to the ICC.

Neither have BBC audiences been told of the documented relations between Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief and the proscribed terrorist organisation which rules the territory. As was noted here in 2021 on one of the previous occasions when the BBC uncritically promoted statements put out by Al Jazeera:

“…as reported by Kan 11 Palestinian affairs correspondent Gal Berger –  Gaza bureau chief Wael Dahdouh accepted a certificate of appreciation on behalf of Al Jazeera for ‘exemplary coverage’ of the recent conflict from Hamas’ Khalil al-Haya. Also present at the ceremony was the same Hazem Qassem quoted in this BBC report. Al-Haya noted that Al Jazeera had “demonstrated its affiliation with the cause of the oppressed Palestinian people” in its coverage and added that Hamas is “proud of the effective Al Jazeera crews”.

Unsurprisingly therefore, on January 7th BBC audiences saw cross-platform reports relating to an incident that, in an item that included an interview with the CPJ president, was described by the BBC News channel as follows:

“The eldest son of Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief Wael al-Dahdouh has been killed in an Israeli strike in southern Gaza. Hamza al-Dahdouh, an Al Jazeera network journalist and cameraman, was with other journalists on a road between Khan Younis and Rafah when a drone strike hit.”

The same story was also the topic of items on BBC radio stations and a written report by Shaimaa Khalil that appeared on the BBC News website on January 7th. Titled ‘Al Jazeera bureau chief’s son Hamza al-Dahdouh among journalists killed in Gaza’, the report tells BBC audiences that:

“The eldest son of Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief has been killed in an Israeli strike in southern Gaza.

Hamza al-Dahdouh, an Al Jazeera network journalist and cameraman, was driving in a car with other journalists along a road between Khan Younis and Rafah on Sunday when it was hit.

Freelance journalist Mustafa Thuraya was also killed. A third journalist, Hazem Rajab, was seriously injured.”

Khalil goes on to present Al Jazeera’s version of the circumstances:

“According to Al Jazeera correspondent Hisham Zaqout, Hamza al-Dahdouh and a group of journalists were en route to the Moraj area north-east of Rafah – which was designated a “humanitarian zone” by the Israeli army – but which had reportedly experienced recent bombings.

Many displaced Gazans had fled to the area to escape the bombardment in other regions of the territory. Hamza had intended to report on the unfolding situation and the aftermath of the bombings in the area, according to Al Jazeera.”

Some nineteen hours after its initial publication, Khalil’s report was amended to include a statement from the IDF:

“In a statement to the BBC, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said: “An IDF aircraft identified and struck a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF troops.

“We are aware of the reports that during the strike, two other suspects who were in the same vehicle as the terrorist were also hit.””

The Times of Israel report on that IDF statement includes the following: [emphasis added]

“The Israel Defense Forces responded late Sunday to reports of the deaths of two Palestinian journalists working for Al Jazeera in an Israeli airstrike in the southern Gaza Strip earlier in the day, saying the pair were traveling in a vehicle with a terror operative who was operating a drone.

In Sunday’s strike in Rafah, Hamza Wael Dahdouh, the son of Al Jazeera’s Gaza correspondent Wael Al-Dahdouh, and Mustafa Thuria, a video stringer for AFP who was also working for the Qatar-based TV outlet, were both killed. A third journalist, Hazem Rajab, was seriously wounded, Al Jazeera said. […]

Amer Abu Amr, a photojournalist, said in a Facebook post that he and another journalist, Ahmed al-Bursh, survived the strike.”

Clearly Shaimaa Khalil’s journalistic curiosity did not extend to trying to find out which of the five people described as journalists who were apparently travelling in that vehicle was the “terror operative who was operating a drone” at the time.

Failing to provide readers with any of the relevant background information concerning Al Jazeera, Khalil nevertheless provides uncritical amplification for its talking points:

“The Al Jazeera Media Network said in a statement that it “strongly condemns the Israeli occupation forces’ targeting of Palestinian journalists’ car”.

“The assassination of Mustafa and Hamza… whilst they were on their way to carry out their duty in the Gaza Strip, reaffirms the need to take immediate necessary legal measures against the occupation forces to ensure that there is no impunity,” it added.

It also alleged that the strike “confirms without a doubt the Israeli forces’ determination continue these brutal attacks against journalists and their families, aiming to discourage them from performing their mission, violating the principles of freedom of the press and undermines the right to life”.”

Khalil also tells her readers that “More than 75 journalists have been killed since the war in Gaza started” but makes no mention of the fact that the CPJ’s own data clarifies that a significant proportion of them were paid workers of the propaganda arms of Hamas and other terrorist organisations.

The blurred lines between journalism and terrorism in the Gaza Strip have long been on record. As ever, BBC journalists show no interest in denouncing the exploitation of their profession by cynical terrorist organisations or in drawing a line between legitimate media organisations and those promoting the interests of terror funding regimes. Instead, the BBC has once again shown that it prefers to jump on the Al Jazeera propaganda bandwagon in order to promote the lie that Israel targets journalists.

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  1. says: john in cheshire

    For information, there are some good videos on YouTube, surprisingly, that give a more informed understanding of what is happening in Israel. Yair Pinto, who I believe is a Christian, is in the IDF and reports on events. The Israeli Guys are also Christians and provide a insight of the situation and Preston Stewart, an American, gives evenhanded reports of what both Israel and the muslims are reporting.
    The bbc is the last place anyone should go to for, well, anything.

  2. says: Grimey

    Next predicted item on BBC “News” – “UK battleship in Red Sea struck by drone missile launched by the brave Houthis from Sana’a defending their right to kill all infidels”.

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