Tuesday, February 16, 2016

‘Churnalism‘ - In which the BBC rehashes a press release and calls it news

...This BBC article is yet another example of ‘churnalism‘ – the uncritical amplification of a press release put out by interested parties – with a bit of embellishment in the form of standard mantra-like inserts seen in numerous previous reports. It obviously does not provide audiences with information concerning the many issues lying behind the press release’s subject matter and so does nothing to meet the BBC’s remit of enhancing audience understanding of this particular international issue.

Hadar Sela..
BBC Watch..
15 February '16..

On February 11th the BBC News website’s Middle East page carried an article titled “UN and Palestinian Authority appeal for $571m aid“. A significant proportion of the article is little more than a rehashed version of a press release put out the previous day by the Palestinian Authority and UN OCHA.aid appeal story

The BBC’s report tells readers that:

“The Palestinian Authority and the United Nations have made a joint call for funding to provide humanitarian assistance to 1.8 million Palestinians.

Most of the $571m (£395m) requested for this year will be spent on food aid.

One Palestinian official warned that any food shortage could see the already volatile situation in the Palestinian Territories “explode”. […]

The funding sought by the UN and Palestinian Authority will provide aid to roughly a third of the 4.75 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Almost $323m of the funding is sought to help the 1.6 million people who the UN has assessed as moderately to severely food insecure.

A further $112m is needed to provide shelter for vulnerable people, including 92,000 still displaced inside Gaza by the 50-day conflict between Palestinian militants and Israel in 2014.

Appealing to donors, UN Assistant Secretary-General Robert Piper warned that “the coping capacity of many Palestinian households is at the point of exhaustion”.”

Completely absent from this BBC report is any mention of Hamas’ appropriation of building materials imported into to the Gaza Strip and the connection between the diversion of construction materials to terrorism and the fact that thousands of people in the Gaza Strip still lack adequate shelter. That issue has of course been serially avoided by the BBC throughout the last year and a half and so audiences reading this report do not have the necessary background information to enable them to put this story into its correct context.

The report also avoids the topic of Hamas’ preference of spending millions of dollars on the reconstruction of cross-border tunnels rather than providing food and shelter for the population it controls. That again is a topic to which the BBC has avoided giving adequate coverage.

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