Sunday, January 24, 2010

BBC Panorama: Misleading account of east Jerusalem shooting

Just Journalism
21 January '10

Tuesday’s edition of BBC documentary programme Panorama focused on the tensions between Jews and Palestinians in east Jerusalem, a subject gaining increasing attention in UK Middle East reporting.

‘A walk in the park’, presented by BBC journalist Jane Corbin, addressed Jewish building, archaeology and development in the eastern side of the city, and the impact these activities are having on Palestinian residents. Demolitions, evictions and concerns about Muslim prayer sites were all covered at length, conveying clearly to viewers a message of Palestinian suffering, despair and uncertainty.

One incident, given substantial coverage in the documentary, was portrayed by the BBC in a highly misleading way, by the heavy emphasis of one version of events to the near exclusion of the other. All the relevant facts were in the public domain, making this difficult to justify.

The episode involved the shooting of two Palestinians, one of whom was Silwan resident Ahmad Qaareen, by an Israeli in September 2009 in east Jerusalem. It was covered in the Israeli press at the time, with both Ha’aretz and Ynet reporting that the Israeli shooter claimed he had acted in self-defence after being attacked by Palestinians and that he was subsequently released from custody on that basis.

Two problems emerged in the reporting:

(Read full article)

Related: BBC: Denying Jewish Jerusalem
Prime time BBC documentary on Jerusalem: An anatomy of bias and distortion

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