Omissions in BBC coverage of Qatari PM’s statement

On the evening of April 17th the BBC News website published a report by Wyre Davies and David Gritten under the headline “Qatar reassessing role as mediator in Gaza ceasefire talks”.

The current version of that report portrays the story described in that headline as follows: [emphasis added]

“Qatar is reassessing its role as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, the country’s prime minister has said.

Qatar has had a key role – along with Egypt and the US – in trying to secure a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and the release of Israeli hostages.

But Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani said Doha had been exploited and abused and was being undermined by those trying to score political points.

He also said the current peace talks were in a “delicate phase”.

Attempts to secure a ceasefire have been delicate and largely unsuccessful, but the links Qatar has with all sides – including close ties to Hamas – are regarded as crucial to achieving any breakthrough.”

The negotiations to date have focused upon the release of the Israeli hostages kidnapped on October 7th and the implementation of a ceasefire of some description. Those negotiations are not “peace talks” and the BBC’s portrayal of them as such whitewashes the fact that Hamas is committed to Israel’s elimination.

Readers are later told that:

“Sheikh Mohammed – who also serves as Qatar’s foreign minister – said its efforts were being undermined by politicians seeking to score points.

“Unfortunately, I mean, we have seen that there has been an abuse of this mediation and an abuse of this mediation in favour of narrow political interests,” he said at a news conference in Doha on Wednesday.

“This means that the state of Qatar has called for a comprehensive evaluation of this role. We are now at this stage to evaluate mediation and also evaluate how the parties engage in this mediation.”

He did not identify any individuals, but some critical voices from within the US Congress have accused Qatar of not putting enough pressure on Hamas to make concessions.”

Remarkably, BBC audiences are not told why Qatar has “close ties to Hamas” or what that means on a practical level.

Moreover, while the original version of the report included the following statement, that paragraph was removed around five hours later.

“Qatar’s Sheikh Mohammed – whose country hosts many of Hamas’s political leaders – said mediators were trying to keep the ceasefire negotiations going despite the disagreements between the warring parties.”

Hence, in the version of the report currently online, BBC audiences are told nothing of Qatar’s hosting of Hamas leaders for well over a decade or of its history of support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Neither do readers find any information concerning Qatar’s years of supplying funding to Hamas, the role played by the Qatari media outlet Al Jazeera in promoting Hamas propaganda or Qatar’s blaming of Israel for the current conflict immediately following the atrocities of October 7th.

Whatever the strategic reasons behind the Qatari prime minister’s public statements about ‘reassessment’ of its role as one of the mediators between Hamas and Israel and whether or not that statement is linked to unverified rumours concerning Hamas relocation, it is clear that the BBC’s failure to provide readers with the full range of information concerning Qatar’s status as a Hamas asset hampers audience understanding of this story and its potential implications.

Related Articles:



More from Hadar Sela
BBC policy on portrayal of UN anti-Israel bias on display again
BBC News website audiences are told that UN anti-Israel bias is 'perceived'.
Read More
Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. says: Grimey

    Qatar is unhappy that its mediation is failing – due to Israel pursuing its goal to eliminate Hamas. The IPC (aka BBC) simply picks/edits reports that match their goal of helping Iran to eradicate Israel.

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

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