Further exchange with BBC
(Initial complaint here)
Friday, 17 November 2023
Dear Mr Hilley
Thank you for contacting us about the BBC News website.
We note your concerns regarding our recent coverage of the current situation in the Middle East.
I can assure you that BBC News always aims for the highest standards of accuracy and impartiality when reporting, and we do aim to report accurate, impartial and comprehensive coverage likely to be of interest to our readers.
The bullet points within our live reporting pages aim to summarise some of the main aspects of our coverage - with more detailed information being provided across our articles:
BBC News has provided our global audiences with coverage and first-hand testimony of the atrocities committed by Hamas, and the suffering in Gaza. We have made clear the devastating human cost to civilians living in Israel and Gaza, and the unprecedented nature of what has happened. The huge loss of civilian life on both sides makes this a shocking and difficult story to cover.
Our correspondents have been to the scenes of attacks, massacres and potential war crimes; and reported on the harrowing scenes they have witnessed.
We have reported on the atrocities committed by Hamas in their assault on Israel and have heard many accounts from survivors of these attacks and family members of the victims, reflecting the trauma they are suffering.
On the ground in Gaza our teams have reported on the rising death toll from Israeli air strikes and the unfolding humanitarian crisis, as first-hand testimony of the atrocities committed by Hamas, and the suffering in Gaza. water supplies are cut and thousands try to move out of the way of danger.
We have reflected statements from the UN and NGOs. We have interviewed representatives of the Israeli government, Hamas and UK government ministers and asked whether international law is being adhered to.
BBC News has also examined the history and complexities of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and analysed the potential consequences of the war for the wider region. Our reporting has included opinions from all sides, the region and the wider world.
We have previously covered the escalation in tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, and the reasons for it.
Careful consideration has been given to all aspects of our coverage to ensure that we report on developments accurately and with due impartiality in line with the BBC Editorial Guidelines, which are publicly available.
We know that our audiences turn to us for clarity and to help them separate fact from fake. We know that trust is earned and we do not take that for granted.
BBC News Chief Executive Deborah Turness has published a blog which addresses some of the concerns about our coverage:
We do value your feedback about this. All complaints are sent to senior management and we’ve included your points in our overnight report. These reports are among the most widely read sources of feedback in the company and ensures that your concerns have been seen by the right people quickly. This helps inform their decisions about current and future content.
Many thanks again for getting in touch.
BBC Complaints Team
Sunday, 19 November 2023
Dear Darren Loughlin
Thank you for responding to my complaint, however belatedly.
As expected, this is a typical piece of BBC obfuscation, littered with loaded and imbalanced language.
“On the ground in Gaza our teams have reported on the rising death toll from Israeli air strikes and the unfolding humanitarian crisis, as first-hand testimony of the atrocities committed by Hamas, and the suffering in Gaza.”
Why is one simply “Israeli air strikes”, and the other “atrocities committed by Hamas”? Why not also use “atrocities” to describe what Israel has done in Gaza? Where is the equivalence of language?
Why are the BBC still saying "Hamas killed 1200 people" (the now reduced figure) when there is strong and mounting evidence to contest this claim?
“It’s almost six weeks since Hamas went into Southern Israel and killed 1200 Israelis”.
(Victoria Derbyshire, Newsnight, 16 November 2023.)
Some other BBC captions now appear more circumspect:
“Israel began striking Gaza after Hamas's 7 October attacks, in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 taken hostage” https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-middle-east-67423274
This appears to leave the question of the killing more 'open-ended', but still lacking any indication that Israeli forces were also responsible.
And after over 6 weeks of slaughter in Gaza, any such amended wording comes far too late for helping to halt the killing spree which BBC statements like these have helped to drive.
There is now clear evidence that Israeli forces killed an unspecified number of its own people during the 7 October events.
further confirmed in witness statements carried by Haaretz and other Israeli media.
Where are the BBC's own investigative reports on this?
Please see also:
Do the BBC dispute this evidence? If so, please state why. If not, then they have a clear obligation to report such evidence, and to remove any false and misleading headlines or annotations.
I need a full and open reply to my initial enquiry. Having failed to address these substantive points, I wish to have my case elevated to a higher stage for further examination.