I think that this might interest some of you: It is the text of a complaint I have just sent to the BBC Today programme:
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
I am writing to complain about the repeated pattern of pro-Israeli bias on your newscasts.
For example (this is one of many possible examples): this morning on _Today_ from 8 until 8.22a.m., you featured several voices on the Gaza situation – not one of them was a Palestinian, or a direct sympathizer with their plight. You DID give some airtime however to an Israeli citizen living in south Israel! We have heard HUGE amounts on your airwaves from these Israelis, who are suffering — but they are suffering just a tiny percentage of what the Gazans are suffering!
Is this, to coin a phrase ‘proportionate’? Shouldn’t we be hearing a lot more — not a lot less — from the desperate civilians of the open-air prison of Gaza, as compared to from Israeli civilians?
Imagine the following parallel situation: In Zimbabwe, over 380 MDC people and civilians hemmed into a narrow strip of land in the country are killed as a result of government attacks; while 2 civilians in nearby Zanu PF areas are killed by the MDC supporters. Is it remotely conceivable that, in such a situation, the BBC would choose frequently (as this morning) to air ONLY a voice from the Zanu PF side, and no voice from among the MDC??!
Please think about this! People are dieing in large numbers: your coverage is not helping them to live.
PLEASE let us hear many more voices from the Palestinians, from the Gazans, from the ordinary people!
There are now well over 380 Gazans killed, compared to 2 Israelis killed. Yet you persist in giving Israeli citizens MORE coverage than Palestinian citizens! Can anyone listening with an open mind avoid the conclusion that either (1) you value Israeli lives more, or (2) you are responding to Israeli ‘flak’ in a craven way, by trying to avoid generating further criticisms from their sophisticated ‘media-attack’ operation.
I suspect that the answer is (2). But this is not acceptable — it is not acceptable for the BBC to compromise its editorial values in response to pressure from a government and organisations working on behalf of this government.
Come on BBC, you can do better than this with my licence-fee! …
I look forward to understanding why you chose to run this morning’s broadcast in the way that you did — and, more than that, I look forward to never hearing broadcasts like that again! When one side in an absolutely patently-uneven conflict is suffering so extremely, I expect the BBC to manifest that in its coverage – from now on.
Please don’t disappoint me.
Dr. Rupert Read, Reader in Philosophy (specialising in Social and Political Philosophy and Philosophy of Language) at the University of East Anglia, Norwich.