BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Sunday, 3 January 2010


Today's The World This Weekend with James Robbins spent much of its time navel-gazing, discussing the BBC's disgraceful sidelining of female presenters of a certain age (and above) in favour of young beauties (like Joanna Gosling, Martine Croxall, Karin Gianonne, Anita McVeigh and Ellie Crissell). BBC News 24 is going to get an influx of older females in the coming months, so my only reason for watching this irritating channel will vanish along with its bevy of young lovelies! (Only joking. Or am I?)
Then The World This Weekend turned to Israel and the Palestinians. (What a surprise! Again, again, again with Israel and the Palestinians! Will the BBC's obsession with this subject ever end?) Whatever your view on this most controversial and exhausting of international conflicts (yawn!), you surely must agree (yeah right!) that the BBC is biased on the subject. Even if you don't, here's some evidence for this point of view. I hesitate to present it only because I have so little interest in the subject, but feel I must present it because there's no escaping the BBC's incredibly one-sided obsession with it.
James Robbins mentioned that it was a year since the Gaza War. Because international journalist were excluded from Gaza, he said, "the BBC relied on its resident Gaza producers for eye witness accounts of what was going on. A year on one of them, Hamada Abuqammar, recalls what it was like reporting on a conflict that put his own family in danger." Mr Abuqammar's report featured the complaints of a personal friend who said "I used to have a good life, like people in the West, but the Israelis reduced it to dust." Hamada himself worried about the future: "Life for me and my family remains a challenge. Prices have gone up for fruit, flower, vegetables and clothes for my children. The continued blockade means that they won't change soon." Mr Abuqammar's report made no mention of Hamas. Everything was Israel's fault. Hamada is, let me remind you, employed by the BBC. The report lasted for 2 minutes 42 seconds.
For the sake of balance, an Israeli perspective was then sought - but Robbins framed the lsraeli lady's comments in a way laden with caveats: "But the Israeli government insists it acted in self defence. The number of its citizens killed or maimed by rockets fired from Gaza was far smaller than the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza and rocket attacks have dropped sharply, but still Inab Silverman (as I'm transcribing, sorry if I've spelled her name incorrectly), one of those Israelis living in Sderot, told me of the dangers in her everyday life". The lady was heard from for a mere 25 seconds!!! Is that what passes for balance at the BBC? *

James Robbins then chaired a double-interview that, at least, offered a Palestinian and an Israeli perspective, on equal terms: "So is there any chance of advancing the peace process in the Middle East in 2010? Well to discuss that earlier today I spoke to Dr Sabri Saidam, a former advisor to the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, or Abu Mazin, and first to the left-of-centre Israeli politician, former justice minister Yossi Beilin." It wouldn't be this blog if I didn't point out that the BBC went naturally towards a left-of-centre Israeli politician. Of course it did. Robbins himself said, "Yossi Beilin, neither you nor Sabri Saidam, is particularly sympathetic towards the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu...". Which raises the obvious question, why wasn't someone who is sympathetic towards Mr Netanyahu invited on?

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