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September 9, 2022 3:21 pm
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BBC Arabic Journos Delete Disturbing Tweets After Watchdog Uncovered Anti-Israel Posts

avatar by Rachel O'Donoghue

Opinion

The BBC logo is seen at the entrance at Broadcasting House, the BBC headquarters in central London. Photo by Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images/Sipa USA.

Several journalists working for the British Broadcasting Company (BBC)’s Arabic service have gone on a Twitter scrubbing spree to remove numerous anti-Israel tweets, which constitute a flagrant violation of the UK taxpayer-funded outfit’s employee social media guidelines.

Among the most offensive posts that have now vanished from Twitter include one that refers to the Jewish state as the “terrorist apartheid state of Israel,” and another that labeled all Israelis “terrorists.”

It is therefore clear that the journalists featured in our piece were well aware of how their social media postings broke the BBC’s rules on how its journalists should conduct themselves to avoid conflict with the broadcaster’s commitment to impartiality.

As we pointed out at the time:

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The BBC has made it clear in the past that disclaimers in social media profiles, such as ‘my views [are] not the BBC’s,’ are not a defense against ‘personal expressions of opinion on social media that may conflict with BBC guidelines.’

Breaching such rules can reportedly result in disciplinary action, including possible termination of employment.”

Although HonestReporting reached out to the BBC to ask how the corporation would respond, we have yet to receive a definitive response, except to say that breaches of the company’s rules are dealt with appropriately.

Worryingly, several of the tweets we drew attention to still remain live, including those from one journalist who repeatedly expressed her wish that Israel would “go down,” and foul-mouthed rants about the Jewish state. We can therefore assume that the broadcaster believes adherence to its own guidelines by staff is unnecessary, at least where such breaches pertain to Israel-Palestinian issues.

This is particularly disturbing, given that it comes just months after it was announced that the BBC’s public funding would all but disappear when the compulsory annual television license fee of £159 ($182) per household would be frozen and eventually scrapped entirely. The decision was preceded by numerous complaints by the UK’s ruling Conservative government over whether the BBC acts in an impartial manner, specifically in reportage relating to right-wing politicians and political issues.

The aforementioned BBC Arabic tweets are also just the tip of the iceberg with regard to Israel, considering there are problems in far too many of the corporation’s news pieces on the subject.

Just this week, we pointed out that Yolande Knell, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent, had twisted the facts to produce a scathing report on Israel’s new regulations concerning the entry of foreigners into Palestinian-majority areas of Area C, the area of the West Bank that is under full Israeli control.

Specifically, Knell had sought to imply that Jerusalem was implementing Orwellian rules designed to prevent Palestinian ID holders from entering into relationships with foreigners.

Over the last six months, we have produced numerous critiques that lay bare the BBC’s repeated failure to accurately report on Israeli-Palestinian events (see here, here, and here).

It is high time the BBC met its own standards for fair and accurate news coverage. It could start by disciplining the raft of BBC Arabic journalists whose crass tweets about the Jewish state damage even further their employer’s reputation.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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