04 May '15..
During the Gaza conflict last Summer, the BBC’s Orla Guerin filed a video report from Gaza. We were shocked that in the report, broadcast on BBC One’s “News at Ten” and on the BBC Website, she declared that despite Israeli allegations that Hamas had been using human shields, there had been “no evidence” of such a practice.
We published our own video (“Shocking Claim by Biased and Clueless BBC Journalist“) showing that there was, in fact, massive evidence of Hamas using this tactic. We urged viewers to submit formal complaints to the BBC that Guerin had misled viewers by her statement.
Well the BBC Trust has reviewed the complaints. They did agree that her statement about “no evidence of human shields” was inaccurate. Here is what they said:
“To refer to the ‘evidence’ put forward by one side would not necessarily endorse their version of events and to that extent I would agree that this might have been better worded.”
But this is as far as they would go. The BBC Trust claims that during the piece, she did refer to the firing of rockets in close proximity to residential neighborhoods. They claim that viewers should have been able to figure out that Hamas had indeed been using human shields.
Sorry but “Might have been better worded” is just not good enough.
When a correspondent looks at the camera, labels the “human shield” charge as an “Israeli allegation” and then says there has been “no evidence” to back it up, she is absolutely misleading viewers. If she also showed some footage that seems like it contradicts what she said, that only serves to confuse, rather than clarify.
Why should the BBC allow a reporter to continue making false statements in the first place? It’s not like this is the first time Guerin has been caught making statements (here, here, and here) that ended up being untrue.
We commend all those who wrote to the BBC and filed complaints and even though the appeals committee has turned them down this time, it is important to keep up the pressure. News organization should never settle for reports seen by millions that “might have been better worded.”
And neither should you.
Honest Reporting - Defending Israel From Media Bias