BBC coverage of Israel’s occupation of Palestine is often so unbalanced, it can be difficult to know where to start when making a complaint.
These are some things to look out for when listening to or reading a BBC report:
- Is the report accurate, balanced and unbiased?
- Is it impartial, or does it give only partial coverage of the facts?
- Has a full and fair account been given? Or have key facts been omitted?
- Has the context of the situation been provided? eg if the report is about rockets being fired from Gaza, has the context of siege, occupation ongoing Israeli aggression been given?
- Has the disparity in power between the two sides been made clear during the course of the report? Would listeners be fully aware that the two sides are not on equal terms? (See The Thomas Report for a briefing on the BBC’s responsibility to make this clear to its audiences)
- Has the Israeli spokesperson been challenged effectively or not at all? Was there a Palestinian spokesperson?
If the answer to any of the above is ‘no’, the report warrants a complaint (see How to Complain to the BBC)
Blatant inaccuracy is also a problem. For example, Jerusalem is often referred to as the capital of Israel by journalists, and this should always be picked up on and corrected. Emails should emphasize that Jerusalem is split in two by the Green Line and East Jerusalem is Palestinian land that has been illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. Editors and researchers should be reminded that Jerusalem is not recognized as Israel’s capital by the international community.