BBC News amplifies Scottish MP’s unevidenced allegation

On January 24th the BBC News website published a filmed item headlined ‘SNP asks PM to call Israeli actions a ‘war crime” on its ‘Middle East’ and ‘UK politics’ pages.

The synopsis to that item includes the following: [emphasis added]

“Stephen Flynn cited an ITV news report where an unarmed Palestinian man under a white flag was “shot and killed” by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).”

The video itself shows an exchange in the UK parliament between SNP MP Stephen Flynn and the prime minister which opens with Flynn saying:

“Last night, as Tory MPs were once again fighting among themselves, the public were sat at home watching John Irvine of ITV News report on footage from Gaza of an unarmed Palestinian man walking under a white flag being shot and killed by the IDF. Prime Minister; such an act constitutes a war crime, does it not?” [emphasis added]

The BBC News website did not bother to inform its audiences that there is no evidence to support Flynn’s claim that the IDF “shot and killed” an “unarmed Palestinian man walking under a white flag”.

The obviously edited footage (which was filmed by a photojournalist from the Gaza Strip called Mohammed Abu Safia) put out by ITV on its TV channel and on its website does not show the source of fire and certainly does not provide any evidence to show that the shooter was an IDF soldier.

Nevertheless, the BBC News website chose not only to provide worldwide amplification for Flynn’s totally unevidenced claim but also to hamper the ability of audiences to make up their own minds about his reckless promotion of misinformation in Parliament.

The IDF put out a statement criticising ITV’s report on January 24th. The following day – January 25th – the BBC News website published a report by David Gritten and Lipika Pelham titled ‘Khan Younis: UN says 12 killed at Gaza shelter as fighting rages’ which promotes a link to the online version of that ITV report.

“In another incident in Khan Younis on Tuesday, a cameraman for the UK’s ITV News filmed a Palestinian civilian being shot dead on a main road about 1.7km (1 mile) south of the UNRWA shelter.

Five men are seen walking towards the combat zone holding a white flag, before there is a burst of gunfire and one of them falls to the ground. It was not clear who opened fire.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was asked in the Parliament on Wednesday whether such pictures would prompt him to push for a ceasefire in Gaza.”

Despite the fact that by January 25th the BBC News website had realised that “[i]t was not clear who opened fire”, no amendment was made to the synopsis of the January 24th filmed report which unequivocally tells audiences that “an unarmed Palestinian man under a white flag was “shot and killed” by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF)”.

Gritten and Pelham’s report also promotes claims made by UNRWA concerning one of its facilities.

“At least 12 people were killed and 75 injured when a UN facility sheltering civilians was struck in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency says.

UNRWA said two shells hit its Khan Younis Training Centre during fighting in the city’s western outskirts.

Its commissioner condemned the “blatant disregard of basic rules of war”.”

The report continues with the IDF’s response to that allegation:

“Israel’s military said it had ruled out that the incident was the result of an air or artillery strike by its forces.

It added that it was reviewing Israeli operations nearby and examining the possibility that it was “Hamas fire”.”

Nevertheless, Gritten and Pelham chose to expand on UNRWA’s claims later in their report and to once again promote the unevidenced allegation that the facility had been hit by “two tank rounds”.

Failing to clarify that “Gaza’s health ministry” is run by the very terrorist organisation which initiated the war, Gritten and Pelham go on to amplify claims from NGOs:

“Gaza’s health ministry meanwhile accused the IDF of “isolating hospitals in Khan Younis and carrying out massacres in the western area of the city”.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said the al-Amal Hospital, which it runs, and its local headquarters were under “siege” by Israeli forces, trapping patients, wounded people and an estimated 13,000 displaced people.

The organisation alleged that three displaced people were killed after being targeted at the entrance to the headquarters on Wednesday morning.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned on Tuesday night that its staff inside the nearby Nasser Medical Complex – the largest hospital still partly functioning in Gaza – had reported bombing and heavy gunfire nearby.

“They are currently unable to evacuate along with the thousands of people in the hospital, including 850 patients, due to roads to and from the building being either inaccessible or too dangerous.””

Gritten and Pelham made no effort to inform their readers of Hamas’ exploitation of hospitalsincluding the two named in their report or of the fact that hostages have been held in the Nasser hospital and rockets have been fired from its grounds.

As we see, the BBC continues to provide amplification for unevidenced claims which it has not independently verified and to call that ‘news’.

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  1. says: Richard Turnbull

    You’re doing vitally important work to combat relentless distortions and horrible laziness amongst allegedly professional journalists who should know better!
    They have bought into this “IDF-bad, Palestinian `civilians’ -good” narrative as a substitute for examining an extremely complex war brought about entirely by Hamas. All too many are seemingly channeling anti-Semitism into that sordid endeavor.
    Hamas could end the suffering and death within hours, by releasing all the kidnapped hostages – and by next laying down their arms, but of course that would mean subjecting their depraved war crimes and the oppression of their own population to legal scrutiny, and inevitable punishment.
    Again, vitally important work for which none of you will ever have to apologize to anyone – something all the BBC journalists and their enablers and ideologically dogmatic cohorts should consider in their own consciences, if they have any.

  2. says: Grimey

    A Palestinian carrying a white flag means that he is either a terrorist or he is not a terrorist – it does not mean that he is certainly an innocent civilian – unless you happen to be an Iran Propaganda Corpn (aka BBC) reporter.

  3. says: Neil C

    The BBC legal department will soon be prosecuting thousands more after ditching their license fees, nobody wants to continue listening to their biased unverified reporting any longer #defundthebbc

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