Monday, 31 January 2011

The BBC reporting on Egypt

I have blogged recently how the BBC  kept any negativity about Egypt hidden from the British public for years:
'The BBC's reporting on the unrest in Egypt has brought something interesting to light. Part of the the way through the unrest the BBC decided that they should explain why the unrest was happening and suddenly the BBC were reporting that Egypt was ruled by a despot who headed an unpopular authoritarian regime. What is odd is how the BBC seemed to keep this sort of information very quiet over the years, preferring to point out the horrors that were happening next door in Israel.

It is odd how the BBC can implicitly support a regime by broadcasting next to nothing about its failings only to switch when a revolt starts. However the explanation is clear: the BBC will support, pretty uncritically, any country, organisation or movement that opposes Israel right up until that country, organisation or movement looks like it might be about to be replaced by one likely to be even more opposed to Israel. The BBC's anti-Israel obsession is pernicious and clouds its world view to such an extent that all of its foreign news coverage is suspect.'
So I was pleased to see the following comment on Biased-BBC that I think explores this subject even further:

'David Preiser (USA)
Here's what the BBC had to say about the political situation in Egypt only five years ago:

'There is little doubt that Mr Mubarak probably does enjoy huge support in the Egyptian street. '

So what changed, BBC?  We aren't told.  Instead, the Beeboids act as if the Egyptians were always against being ruled by Mubarak.  Then there's this:

'But the results of the 2005 election were skewed by the banning of what is assumed to be the main opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, and almost insurmountable obstacles for independent candidates.  
Successes by Muslim Brotherhood-supporting independent candidates in the parliamentary elections two months later were followed by a crackdown on opposition activists.  
In what was see by analysts as sign of alarm bells ringing in the NDP leadership, municipal elections were also postponed.

So the Muslim Brotherhood might just win a "free and fair" election, and there are no other viable choices in sight, other than Iran's proxy, El-Baradei.  Again, not a word from a single Beeboid about the real potential of the MB. Instead, the BBC is informing you, across the spectrum of broadcasting, that they're not radical, not so bad, it's only scare-mongering from Mubarak to keep himself in power.

The best they've done is ask the occasional government figure (Hague or someone from the US, typically) if they're worried about the MB taking over.  The problem is that, having blatantly misrepresented the MB, this question is way out of its proper context and ends up sounding like fear-mongering.

When Frank Gardner and several other people on the BBC say that the Muslim Brotherhood is "not that radical", then Hague says that nobody wants "extremists" to take over in Egypt, it makes Hague and everyone else sound like they're being Islamophobes and continuing to support the dictator with their talk of orderly proceedings.  It's time to say that the BBC is lying about the Muslim Brotherhood.'

A good analysis of the situation and one that the BBC should own up to.

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