A researcher at Birzeit University submitted findings Saturday outlining what she found to be un-objective coverage around "the question of Palestine" on BBC Arabic's broadcast news.Sound like cherry-picking?
The study, focusing on the daily news program World News This Evening's broadcasts between 8 November and 8 December 2008, found external political motivations swayed coverage of Palestine only weeks before Israel launched its Operation Cast Lead on 26 December 2008.
Masters student Buthayna Hamdan, who pioneered the study, explained that she measured the objectivity of the reports by BBC's own standards, and basic precepts of news coverage.So, according to this unbiased Palestinian Arab researcher, the BBC should call the Israel Defense Forces the "Israel Offense Forces" because, in her weird world, that wouldn't be biased. And a place that houses thousands of people who call it one name should be given another name by the BBC - when it was empty space beforehand.
Benchmarks for measurement included: Omission of facts, clear differentiation of facts and opinions, and avoiding prioritization of accounts.
The research found that the news coverage employed Israeli terminology, describing the military as "defense forces" when its actions were offensive, labeling locations with Israeli place names like the illegal settlement Har Homa, built on appropriated land known as Jabal Abu Ghnaim.
Because the settlement and the expropriation of land is illegal under international law, the study argued, the area where the settlement is located should retain its Arabic name.
I guess that Hamdan would agree that the Al Aqsa courtyard should be called the "Har HaBayit" as that was its name before it was illegally expropriated.
And this is biased, how, exactly? Especially since most of the rockets were manufactured in small metal workshops, not in homes - the term "home-made" would be incorrect as well as biased. Also, mortars aren't home-made, and mortars make up more than half the attacks.
It also noted the use of the term "military arsenal" to describe home made projectiles fired toward Israel by militant factions in Gaza.
During the study period, the research found 25 news events in Palestine, including the death, injury and detention of Palestinians including children, that went unreported by the news program. The same period saw the full coverage of every home made projectile launched from Gaza into Israeli territory, a total of 14.Wow - the BBC covered every one of the 14 projectiles shot at Israel, according to this researcher, a master's degree candidate for a prestigious university. Only one problem - there were at least 92 Qassams shot at Israel in that time period, not to mention well over 100 mortars. The BBC covered less than 8% of them, according to this report.
So which direction is the bias now?
And what accounts for these non-existent cases of bias? Take a wild guess:
Following the analysis, and citing works by British journalist Robert Fisk, the report suggested that BBC Arabic's news coverage was influenced by an Israeli lobby, and a mass supply of Israeli government-produced news and information.See? The famous British Israel Lobby influences BBC's Arabic coverage.
Here is a description of one of the BBC reports during that time period that was supposedly so biased towards Israel:
It's a rare week that passes without the BBC providing a welcome bully pulpit for those who like to bash Israel. And so it was this morning that Oxfam was afforded the opportunity to attack those bad Jews for having the temerity to stop the free movement of goods (and weapons!) in and out of that land running with milk and honey which is Gaza. When it was mildly suggested to the Oxfam spokesman by the BBC interviewer that "militants" (Love that word, so much nicer than depraved Hamas terrorists) were firing off rockets into Israel (even one was launched during the interview!) the Oxfam response was to dismiss that aspect of things entirely and focus instead on the "humanitarian" plight of those who live in the moral sewer of Gaza. The BBC interviewer did not pursue this line of enquiry as it was obvious where his sympathies lay. The only opinion expressed was the venomous anti-Israel take from Oxfam - the utterly discredited Hamas-apologists.Yeah, that's real pro-Israel bias right there.