BBC News amends report to remove the word terrorist

Early on the evening of Friday, April 26th the BBC News website published a short report credited to Tom Spender and titled “Ben-Gvir, Israeli far-right minister, in car accident”.

The version of that report currently available online is 185 words long and it opens by describing a car accident which had taken place a few hours earlier, continuing with portrayals of unrelated statements made by one of the people injured in the accident.

The report tells readers that:

“Israeli media said Mr Ben-Gvir had been returning from the scene of a stabbing in the city of Ramle, near Tel Aviv.

A 19-year-old woman was seriously injured in that incident, according [sic] emergency services. Central district police chief Avi Biton said a man who reportedly had mental health issues had attacked the woman and had then been shot and “neutralised” by a civilian.”

However, those 41 words describing the stabbing incident were the product of an amendment made to the report around half an hour after its original publication. In the initial version of the report Tom Spender told readers that:

“Israeli media said Mr Ben-Gvir had been returning from the scene of a stabbing in the city of Ramle, near Tel Aviv.

An 18-year-old woman was seriously injured in that incident, according to the Israeli emergency service Magen David Adom, which added that the “terrorist was neutralised”, referring to the attacker.”

As reported by local media outlets including the Times of Israel:

“Police were investigating the Ramle stabbing as a suspected terror attack, Avi Bitton, the Israel Police central district chief, confirmed at the scene of the attack.

He also noted, however, that the assailant was “mentally unstable.”

The attacker was chased by friends and relatives of the victim for about a kilometer to a second location where he attempted to stab another woman, Bitton said.

He was then shot dead by one of those pursuing him, who was carrying a licensed weapon, said Bitton.”

In other words, even though it was known at the time of publication that the police had stated that they were investigating the incident as a suspected terror attack, the BBC News website refrained from clarifying that point, chose to remove the reference to the attacker as a terrorist from its report and completely failed to mention the attacker’s attempt to stab an additional victim.

More from Hadar Sela
Weekend long read
Our weekly round-up of Middle East background reading.
Read More
Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

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