Israel – Gaza conflict: there will be a protest from 12-3 outside the BBC building Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London from 12-3pm Monday 19 November.
First of all, to clarify, this site and its supporters are not pro or anti Palestinian or Israeli. We are pro all life, pro peace, pro truth. Above all in this context we are pro good journalism.
At the protest on Monday we will be both paying respects to the dead on both sides, and petitioning the BBC to drastically change its reporting of the hostilities in specific ways:
In BBC news reports on TV, Radio and Online:
1) Higher numbers of Palestinian deaths are consistently presented as secondary to smaller numbers of Israeli deaths.
WE DEMAND A FAIR BBC THAT REPORTS DEATHS ON BOTH SIDES WITH EQUAL WEIGHT.
2) Consistently, Israeli viewpoints, whether in the form of well-trained Israeli spokespeople or our own political leaders, are given predominance, with a tiny proportion of time for Palestinian viewpoints:
WE DEMAND A FAIR BBC THAT GIVES EQUAL AMOUNTS OF AIRTIME TO VIEWPOINTS AND SUPPORTERS OF EACH SIDE.
3) Israeli attacks are consistently justified by being cosseted in phrases like ‘in response to…’ and ‘in retaliation for…’
WE DEMAND A FAIR BBC THAT IS NOT ONE-SIDED IN LAYING BLAME, AND FOCUSES PRIMARILY ON FACTS.
4) The arbitrary start-date of this conflict and timeline of events have been chosen to falsely point the finger at Palestinians as ‘aggressors’.
WE DEMAND A FAIR BBC THAT PROVIDES ACCURATE DETAILS AND TIMELINE OF ISRAELI AND PALESTINIAN ATTACKS.
5) The history of illegal Israeli occupation, and its daily spread, the blocking of Palestinian attempts at statehood, the democratic mandate of Hamas and the obscene inhumanity of the siege of Gaza is consistently overlooked in reports and so regarded as acceptable.
WE DEMAND A FAIR BBC THAT GIVES THE BACKGROUND AND DAILY REALITY OF THIS CONFLICT.
So far in this conflict, as has been seen for many years again and again on the BBC, it has blatantly valued Israeli lives over Palestinian and aired almost exclusively pro Israeli viewpoints.
As an example of the kind of biased reporting that has caused such offence: I literally had to stop my car during a BBC Radio 5 Live news report on Thursday to calm myself down and note down what was said as it was so revoltingly one-sided. I found it online and for a few more days you can hear it here if you want: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01nt2q7
In summary: “3 israelis were killed by rockets from Gaza” – this is the headline, followed by a surprisingly long and very emotive recording (isn’t this still the headlines?) of an Israeli father talking about his concerns for his children and wife hiding in their house together, followed by a much briefer mention that 3 Palestinians were also killed. Later, which you wouldn’t even catch if you only wanted the headlines, we hear, after the foreign secretary’s explanation that the Palestinians are to blame, that not 3 but ELEVEN Palestinians were killed. This, we are told, all followed Israel’s assassination of a key Palestinian figure in retaliation to Palestinian rocket attacks. Finally, as a gesture to balanced reporting we hear a UN official calling for no escalation on either side.
It’s all there really, well a lot of it: the blatant racist prioritising of Israeli deaths over Palestinian; the emotive use of an Israeli witness, but no Palestinian; the use of an ‘expert voice’ – ok, William Hague – explaining that it’s the Palestinians’ fault, but no expert with a pro Palestinian view; the parroting of the Israeli government’s arbitrary selection of a timeline of events that allows pointing the finger of blame at Palestinians and casting Israel as the victim purely defending itself; and I imagine some timeline type issue would be the reason given for the 3 Palestinian deaths at the end of the headline morphing into 11 a minute later.
I would strongly recommend these 2 reports on BBC bias on this conflict:
one by the editors of Media Lens (www.medialens.org): http://ow.ly/flNdu ;
the other by the editors of News Unspun (www.newsunspun.org) http://www.newsunspun.org/article/whitewashing-an-assault-bbc-coverage-of-the-israelgaza-ceasefire
And this report by FAIR (www.fair.org) on the timeline of events leading to current hostilities. http://www.fair.org/blog/2012/11/15/when-does-israelpalestine-violence-start