On the morning of February 6th the BBC News website published an uncredited report headlined “Children’s clothes laid on beach in Gaza war protest” on its ‘Dorset’ page. The same report – which is tagged ‘Israel’ – appeared in the ‘updates’ section of the website’s ‘Middle East’ page and was also translated into Spanish by BBC News Mundo.
The report currently opens as follows:
“A three-mile (5km) long line of old children’s clothes has been strewn along Bournemouth beach in a protest at the war in Gaza.
Activists from the Led by Donkeys group said they were laying more than 11,000 sets of clothes to represent children killed on both sides of the conflict since 7 October.”
“Activists from the Led by Donkeys group said they were laying more than 11,000 sets of clothes to represent children killed on both sides of the conflict since 7 September.” [emphasis added]
Despite that reference to “children killed on both sides of the conflict”, BBC South’s report goes on to mention only one of those sides:
“Although Israel has said it strives to avoid civilian casualties, including issuing evacuation orders, more than 11,500 under-18s have been killed according to Palestinian health officials.”
In October 2023, in response to criticism of the corporation’s reporting, the BBC’s CEO of news pledged:
“We will also give more information around what we know about the source of the claims being made, and any affiliations they might have.
We do not assume that information from every source is accurate, and we will increase transparency in sharing what the BBC knows and does not know, and how we are trying to verify claims or material.”
Nevertheless, BBC South failed to inform readers that “Palestinian health officials” in the Gaza Strip are members of the same Hamas terrorist organisation that initiated the war with its unprecedented attack on Israeli civilians.
Notably, BBC South’s report makes no mention of the six Israeli Bedouin children killed by a Hamas rocket attack on October 7th or the tens of others murdered by Palestinian terrorists in their own homes or while visiting the beach.
The BBC’s report does not clarify that according to the organisation that initiated this agitprop (actually a registered company rather than merely a “group” as described by the BBC), the number 11,500 is supposed to represent Palestinian minors killed “in Gaza and the West Bank since October 7th”.
The BBC avoids questions such as how many of the children killed in the Gaza Strip died as a result of shortfall missiles fired by Palestinian terrorist organisations or because they were located in civilian facilities exploited by Hamas for military purposes. The relevant issue of minors recruited by Palestinian terrorist organisations both in the Gaza Strip and in PA controlled areas in Judea & Samaria is ignored by both the BBC and by the organisers of this agitprop. The report promotes a quote from the organisers:
“In a statement, Led By Donkeys called for the US and UK governments to push for an immediate ceasefire.
“All children are innocent whether they’re Palestinian or Israeli,” it said.”
The same theme is promoted in vox-pop quotes:
“Another beach visitor Sheila Dayman also said it was “sad and shocking”.
“They’re all children, innocent lives on both sides, Israelis and Palestinians. I’m not political but we just pray for peace,” she said.”
The BBC did not bother to clarify to its audiences that, as in the UK, minors who commit terrorism offences are not considered automatically “innocent” because of their age and was obviously content to promote the notion of equivalence between children slaughtered in their homes by terrorists and minors killed while perpetrating acts of terror.
One of the BBC’s public purposes is to provide accurate and impartial news in order to enable its audiences to “engage fully with major local, regional, national, United Kingdom and global issues and participate in the democratic process, at all levels, as active and informed citizens”.
As those vox-pop interviews with ‘beach visitors’ demonstrate only too well, it is precisely the type of superficial and context-free reporting (and activism) on display in this report which prevents members of the British public from being “informed citizens”.