BBC – an Accomplice to Terror!?
28 July 2005 Update
By Andre Mozes***
Executive Summary (full: http//www.take-a-pen.org/English/Articles/Art30052005.htm )
Most of us used to be strongly conditioned to the once legendary reliability of the BBC and can hardly believe that it might have changed. We still love the talks, theatre and history on the BBC. The problem seems to lie with its News and political commentaries, being far too politicized for the largest and supposedly most impartial news organisation on earth. The mounting criticism of the BBC News culminated in the harsh findings of the Hutton report on their malpractices in Iraq - and led to the immediate resignation of BBC's Chairman and CEO. It reaches a new peak now asking a once unthinkable question: is it possible that the BBC News way of reporting actually served the interests of terrorism sometimes in recent years? Could their malpractices have contributed to losses of innocent human lives? This study presents the procedure and the results of a semi-legal inquiry into the serious suspicion of the BBC's complicity to terror, in particular regarding Israel.
Five civilians were killed and 48 wounded in Tel Aviv on 25 February 2005. The BBC's report "A Family in Mourning" paid condolences to the family of - not one of the Israeli victims but the Palestinian killer, whom they never named a terrorist or a murderer. Many similar examples illustrate that for the BBC such adverse sympathy is common practice.
Is it mere tactlessness; or can it be part of some covert support to terrorism?
To leave nothing to speculation we thoroughly examined five fundamental questions: Is it really 'terror' of which we speak? Is BBC reporting really biased in favour of terror organisations? What, if any, is the effect of biased reporting on terror and on the global fight against terror? Can the effect of covert media support to terrorism mount to complicity? Has it actually happened in the BBC's reporting?
A recent UN definition of 'terrorism', we quote in detail, removes any doubt regarding the first question; attacks targeting primarily civilian lives are acts of terror. Regarding bias; the BBC News has been found to be heavily politicized and biased in its reporting; first on the Iraq war and the terrorist activity there - as evidenced in the Hutton report - and similarly in well researched and documented reports and websites regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict.
But the main question of this study relates to complicity and not to bias, and, even if BBC's bias is given, its 'complicity' is a much graver suspicion which necessitates thorough scrutiny before obtaining publicity. For this scrutiny we took the legal definition of 'Accomplice' according to British Law, and examined several fully documented cases where BBC humanized and rationalized suicide bombings, or took terror's side in other ways. Though these cases were found not firmly proven of guilt, but definitely not free from the suspicion of complicity to terrorism either.
Pro-terror slanted reporting and practice by the BBC in Israel seems to follow a policy. A policy statement by the head of BBC News justified not calling the suicide bombers 'terrorists' here "where the political legitimacy" of their acts is "hotly contested". It appears to suggest that blowing up Israeli civilians like kids at a pizza bar - could have 'legitimacy'.
Among the conclusions reached:
- It seems probable that the BBC could have - by disclosing terror's true identity and nature honestly and condemning terror in strong terms after each attack - weakened terrorism to some extent and, considering the high PR-consciousness of terrorists, saved innocent lives. It seems to be complicit in having failed to do so.
- There seems to be sufficient evidence to justify a thorough investigation whether certain singular cases and policies of BBC News qualify them as accomplice, and in particular as 'accessory after the fact, to terrorism, to murders of civilians.
*** Endre (Andre) MOZES is founder and chairman of Take-A-Pen, a multilingual grass-roots organisation countering media and political bias against Israel by the truth - http://www.take-a-pen.org/