Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Honest Reporting?

I blogged a few weeks back about Honest Reporting's report entitled "BBC Reporting During 2007 - Summary of Findings". Please take a read of my article. I read today that Honest Reporting have received a reply from the BBC and here is an extract:

"HonestReporting has a particular view of the conflict and cannot be seen as an independent arbiter of our output.

BBC News is committed to impartial reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an independent panel of inquiry into the impartiality of the BBC's coverage of the Middle East in 2006 found that there was 'no deliberate or systematic bias in our coverage of the conflict.'"

As Honest Reporting comment :

"We certainly have no problem in taking a different 'view of the conflict' to the BBC's moral relativism. However, HonestReporting's analysis examined the BBC's reporting, based not on subjective opinion, but on the very journalistic standards that the BBC claims to uphold. We presented hard facts but our work was summarily rejected by the BBC which is unable to come up its own analysis as to why HonestReporting is unsuitable to judge.

Indeed, the BBC did not deny or even question the statistics or conclusions of our study, choosing instead to question HonestReporting itself. This, from an organization that has suppressed the publication of the Balen Report into its Mideast coverage.

The BBC went as far as the courts to prevent the public release of this internal report. This leaves the distinct impression that, perhaps, embarrassing evidence of bias has been uncovered by the BBC's investigation. We continue to ask - if the BBC has nothing to hide, why is it so intent on spending UK taxpayers' money to cover up Balen?

And why is the BBC unwilling to address the findings of HonestReporting's analysis? In our report, we found:

The BBC virtually ceased reporting on Palestinian rocket attacks but detailed numerous Israeli military operations in Gaza.
The BBC's headline selection for stories about the conflict was inconsistent and favored the Palestinian side.
Images accompanying articles of combat or terrorist attacks were heavily sympathetic to the Palestinian perspective by a ratio of three to one."

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