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February 23, 2016 11:40 am

BBC World Service Erases Israeli Victims From News Reports on Terror Attacks

avatar by Hadar Sela

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A victim being transported into an ambulance outside the West Bank supermarket where Palestinian teens went on a stabbing spree. Photo: Twitter.

A victim being transported into an ambulance outside the West Bank supermarket where Palestinian teens went on a stabbing spree. Photo: Twitter.

The BBC News website’s coverage of four separate attacks perpetrated by Palestinians on February 14 was marred by the inclusion of unverified reports, unnecessarily qualified statements, and superfluous punctuation.

Such issues were not, however, confined to that specific BBC platform; unnecessary use of the word “allegedly” to describe the actions of the Palestinian attackers was to be found in BBC World Service news bulletins on the same day.

The 20:00 GMT bulletin — read by Neil Nunes and later repeated — included (from 02:14 here) the following report: [emphasis added]

The Israeli security forces have shot dead three Palestinians and wounded another as they allegedly attempted to carry out a series of attacks. More than 160 Palestinians have died during a sharp increase in recent violence.

Not only does that portrayal fail to clarify to listeners around the world that the so-called “sharp increase in recent violence” has been going on for more than four months and is caused by hundreds of violent attacks perpetrated by Palestinians, but it also refrains from telling audiences that the vast majority of the Palestinians who have been killed were trying to carry out terror attacks or engaged in violent rioting. The portrayal completely erases the victims — both Israelis and foreign nationals — of those attacks by Palestinians.

The BBC World Service’s 23:00 GMT news bulletin on the same day — also read by Nunes and also later repeated — included coverage of the attack at Damascus Gate, which took place on the evening of February 14. Listeners were told (from 04:07 here) that: [emphasis added]

Five Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli security forces after allegedly attempting to carry out a series of attacks on them. A police spokesman said two Palestinians were killed after opening fire in Jerusalem. Earlier in the city, police shot dead a youth they said had tried to stab them. The other two deaths occurred at Jenin in the West Bank where the Israeli army said it killed two fifteen year-old boys who were shooting at troops.

By the time this news bulletin was broadcast, the circumstances of all the incidents were perfectly clear, meaning that the BBC World Service was able to report them without the insertion of qualifying terminology. The fact that it elected not to do so, together with the fact that its portrayal of the wave of terrorism of which these specific attacks are part is so gravely lacking, once again prompts concerns about the corporation’s impartiality.

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