BBC journalists 'crying,’ taking time off for Israel-Palestine coverage: Report

Fri, 27 Oct 2023 5:24 GMT
Company accused by its journalists of being 'too lenient' on Israel, 'dehumanizing' Palestinian civilians, according to report by The Times.
BBC journalists 'crying,’ taking time off for Israel-Palestine coverage: Report

Staff at the BBC allegedly were left crying in bathrooms and taking time off from work because of its coverage on Israel

The BBC has been accused by its journalists of being "too lenient" on Israel and "dehumanizing" Palestinian civilians, according to a report by The Times newspaper.

Concerns were reportedly raised with senior editorial figures in a meeting earlier this week and an email about the BBC's policy of "treating Israeli lives as more worthy than Palestinian lives" was sent to Director-General Tim Davie.

The BBC has held meetings with staff from Jewish, Palestinian and Arab communities to hear their concerns. The Times reported Wednesday that one insider said it risked "tying itself in knots."

"What Hamas did was atrocious and nobody is excusing its actions but the mood from a lot of people in the building is that we aren’t getting the coverage right," said the source.

"Staff have been crying in the toilets and freelancers have been sacrificing earnings by not showing up to work because of the distress caused. Many people are feeling deeply disturbed," according to The Times.

BBC correspondent based in Beirut, Rami Ruhayem, said he had "the gravest possible concerns" about the coverage.

"Words like ‘massacre’, ‘slaughter’ and ‘atrocities’ are being used prominently in reference to actions by Hamas, but hardly, if at all, in reference to actions by Israel. Does this not raise the question of the possible complicity of the BBC in incitement, dehumanisation and war propaganda," he said in an email to Davie which was shared with BBC News international journalists.

The development comes as the BBC was criticized by Israeli politicians for not using "terrorist" in defining Hamas, while pro-Palestinians found fault with the broadcaster’s coverage on Gaza.

Last week, it was reported that the BBC launched investigations into journalists working for its Arabic service in the Middle East for social media posts "justifying the killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas."

The company also faced criticism for defining demonstrations that it later admitted misled the public about as to what it described earlier as "backing Hamas."

Israel has launched relentless airstrikes on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas into Israeli territory on Oct. 7.

More than 8,400 people have been killed in the conflict, including at least 7,028 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis.

Gaza's 2.3 million residents have been running out of food, water, medicine, and fuel, and aid convoys allowed into Gaza have carried only a fraction of what is needed.


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