BBC’s Donnison May Lose Press Credentials After Blaming Israel for Syrian Child Victim in Tweet
by Zach Pontz
A BBC correspondent who found himself in hot water after tweeting a picture of a child, who he claimed had been injured during Israel’s operation in Gaza, but who was actually a casualty of Syria’s civil war, may find himself in even more trouble.
Walla news reports that Israel’s Information Ministry is exploring the possibility of denying Jon Donnison press credentials. According to the report Donnison has been invited to a hearing on Wednesday at the Government Press Office.
If denied the press credential Donnison could possibly lose the ability to work in Gaza and the West Bank as he’d find it difficult to enter each territory from Israel.
Donnison tweeted an apology the day after the initial tweet appeared: “A photo I re-tweeted from another journo yesterday showing children injured was NOT in Gaza as I said but apparently from Syria. Apologies.”
Last week Knesset Member Carmel Shama Hacohen, Chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, said that the apology was not enough and suggested certain sanctions be imposed on channels whose coverage consistently “blackens the face of Israel.”
Denial of press credentials due to the nature of the press coverage is an unusual step, and it would be unlikely to hold up in the Supreme Court. In the past the Supreme Court has ruled that the Government Press Office is not permitted to deny press credentials due to the contents of journalistic work – even if it is libelous. The High Court previously rejected a case involving French journalist Charles Enderlin, in which he reported that a Palestinian boy had been targeted and killed by two IDF soldiers–a story which turned out to be false.