Thursday, March 09, 2006

BBC censured for anti-Israel bias

For those who are involved in Israel advocacy it is a very difficult to fight Israel's cause when the media presents factual errors and bias. The BBC has long been seen as a problematic news agency when it comes to presenting a balanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
However, it is good news to report that the BBC's online news service has been censured by the corporation's governors for a report about the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The governors judged that the report, contained in a time-line of historical events in the region, failed to give a balanced account of a 1967 United Nations resolution about the six-day war between Israel and a coalition of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
The report, published late last year, suggested the UN called for Israel's unilateral withdrawal from territories seized during the six-day war when in fact it called for a negotiated "land for peace" settlement between Israel and "every state in the area".
The BBC governors' report concluded: "The committee considered that by selecting only references to Israel, the online article did not accurately reflect this balance and gave a biased impression. It therefore breached editorial standards on both accuracy and impartiality".
This is a big event for those who complain of media bias against Israel. I have always stated that knowledge of the facts is the most important element when it comes to Israel advocacy. The fact that the BBC stated in its reported time-line is recounted again and again on media outlets.
Kudos to the BBC governors for recognising that such an error was contained in their reporting.
It is now up to Israel advocates everywhere to seize on this and next time someone says that "The UN ruled that Israel must return to the 1967 borders," you will know how to respond.

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