BBC News amplifies unchallenged Syrian regime propaganda yet again

BBC Watch

Throughout the years of the Syrian civil war, the BBC has on multiple occasions given unchallenged and unquestioned amplification to falsehoods put out by the Assad regime alleging Israeli support for Syrian rebel factions.

BBC unquestioningly promotes Assad’s “destabilisation” claims

BBC promotes Assad propaganda in Syria reports

BBC Q&A on alleged Israeli air strikes is political polemic

BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ promotes more Syrian regime propaganda

BBC report on shootings in Golan parrots Assad propaganda

Vital information missing in BBC reports on alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria

Why is BBC Arabic amplifying Syrian regime propaganda?

Multi-platform BBC promotion of Syrian regime falsehood concerning Israel

On November 30th visitors to the BBC News website’s Middle East page found an article titled “Syria conflict: ‘Israeli jets’ strike outside Damascus“. The initial version of that report read as follows:

alleged-airstrike-syriaAround an hour later the article was amended to include Syrian regime propaganda.

“The Syrian military source said…

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UKMW prompts Economist correction – retracts false claim on ‘Arabic song ban’

UK Media Watch

Yesterday, we posted about an Economist article (‘The Economist Explains: The status of Arabic speakers in Israel, Nov. 24) which included the bizarre claim that “Arabic songs were banned from Israeli radio for several decades.”


However, as we clearly demonstrated in our post, there is absolutely no evidence that there was ever anything resembling a ban on Arabic songs in the history of the state, yet alone one lasting “several decades”.  Indeed, there have been Arabic programs (including music) on Israeli radio since the state’s founding. 

We contacted the editor responsible for the article, who promptly responded to inform us that they upheld our complaint and removed the sentence in question.  

They also added the following addendum:

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Another Temple Mount related story ignored by the BBC

BBC Watch

As readers may recall, a year ago the BBC refrained from reporting on its English language website the Israeli government’s decision to declare the Northern Islamic Movement an illegal organisation – but did cover that story on the BBC Arabic website.Kotel at night 2

English-speaking audiences were therefore deprived of information concerning the Northern Islamic Movement’s network of paid activists who disrupt visits by non-Muslims to Temple Mount. Those networks – known as the Murabitat and Murabitun – were banned by the Israeli authorities in September 2015.

Earlier this week the Israeli Security Agency announced the arrest and indictment of four members of the Northern Islamic Movement.

“According to a statement by the Shin Bet, the defendants incited unrest at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and four of them tried to keep up the activity of the Murabitun and Murabitat, two groups outlawed in Israel since last year for harassing Jewish visitors. […]


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Reviewing BBC portrayal of the 1947 Partition Plan

BBC Watch

Members of the public looking for BBC produced information concerning the 1947 Partition Plan will find a mixed bag of results.

The content available online is untagged and hence does not appear in one place or in chronological order of publication. Members of the public might therefore encounter backgrounders in which no mention is made of the fact that the Partition Plan was rejected by the Arab states and the ‘Higher Arab Committee’ – and thus rendered irrelevant – or that violence ensued.partition-plan-2

For example, a backgrounder dating from 1997 states: 

“The Palestine partition plan was approved by the United Nations in its 128th plenary session November 29, 1947. This is the official text of the resolution which divided Palestine and created one Jewish and one Arab state.

The resolution was approved by the general assembly – 33 votes in favour, 13 votes against, with 10 abstentions.”

The timeline

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The Economist bizarrely alleges ‘decades-long Israeli ban on Arabic songs’

UK Media Watch

A Nov. 27th article in The Economist, titled ‘The Economist Explains: The status of Arabic speakers in Israel‘, included the claim that “Arabic songs were banned from Israeli radio for several decades.”

economist-claimHowever, we could no find no evidence that this is even partially true. Indeed, the only other place we could find a version of this claim was in a 2015 article published at Middle East Eye – but the claim (unsurprisingly) is not sourced.

Indeed, evidence suggests there couldn’t possibly have been such a ban (yet alone one “for several decades”) on Arabic songs.

On the website of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA), there’s this on the history of Arabic radio:

The domestic Hebrew station broadcasts included, until 1956, programs in Arabic. After the Sinai Campaign, Kol Yisrael in Arabic split from the Hebrew station, and in 1958 began broadcasting as…

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Twenty-nine hours later – BBC News reports Golan cross-border attack

BBC Watch

At around 8:30 a.m. on the morning of November 27than incident took place along the border in the south Golan Heights.

“Soldiers from the Golani Brigade’s reconnaissance unit had crossed the security fence with Syria to conduct an “ambush operation,” while remaining inside Israeli territory, when they came under attack from small arms fire, an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said.

They returned fire, but soon came under attack from mortar shells.

In response, the Israel Air Force targeted a truck “that had some sort of machine gun on top of it” and killed the four terrorists who were riding in it. […]

According to the IDF, the four men were members of the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, formerly known as the Yarmouk Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist group in Syria that is connected with the Islamic State. […]

The incident was the first major confrontation between Israeli forces and…

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Comparing BBC reporting on human shields in Gaza and Iraq

BBC Watch

As readers no doubt recall, one of the many remarkable features of BBC coverage of the summer 2014 conflict between Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip was the corporation’s failure to report on Hamas’ use of the local civilian population as human shields.

Not only did BBC journalists refrain from reporting adequately on the issue of Hamas’ placement of military assets in populated areas (with the BBC later claiming that it was “very hard for journalists in Gaza to get to see rockets being fired out”) and the terror group’s instructions to civilians to stay put in such areas but some BBC correspondents even went out of their way to deny the phenomenon.

“I saw no evidence during my week in Gaza of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields.” Jeremy Bowen, July 22, 2014.

“While there are growing allegations against Israel, it claims civilians…

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