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July 31, 2019 6:42 am

The BBC — Like Other Media Outlets — Ignores the UNRWA Ethics Story

avatar by Hadar Sela

Opinion

Palestinians pass by the gate of an UNRWA-run school in Nablus in the West Bank, August 13, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Abed Omar Qusini.

In 2017, the BBC expanded its links with the news agency AFP as part of its news-gathering process. Unlike many other media outlets — including the corporation’s preferred paper The Guardian — the BBC does not appear to consider one recent AFP story newsworthy:

An internal ethics report has alleged mismanagement and abuses of authority at the highest levels of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees even as the organisation faced an unprecedented crisis after US funding cuts.

The allegations included in the confidential report by the agency’s ethics department are now being scrutinized by UN investigators.

AFP has obtained a copy of the report which describes “credible and corroborated” allegations of serious ethical abuses, including involving UNRWA’s top official, Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl.

It says the allegations include senior management engaging in “sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent, and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives.”

Despite the BBC having put a considerable amount of effort into amplifying UNRWA talking points throughout last year, members of its funding public have to date not seen any coverage of this latest story concerning the controversial UN agency on the BBC News website or, to the best of our knowledge, anywhere else.

Hadar Sela is the Managing Editor of BBC Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

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