Lobbyists use BBC charter review for anti-Israeli claims

Lobby groups took advantage of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s call for public contributions to the BBC’s charter review, to complain about a perceived “bias towards Palestinians” in the broadcaster’s news coverage of the Middle East.

According to the ministry’s paper, What You Said About the BBC, released this week, just over a third of all respondents made any reference to BBC news coverage.

However, of that 33 per cent, one in five said they were “dissatisfied with coverage of the Middle East” and felt a pro-Palestinian bias.

Only 1 per cent of respondents perceived and were dissatisfied with a pro-Israeli bias.

The report said that those who commented negatively about BBC news coverage formed three groups: those who compared current and past news coverage and “found BBC’s modern coverage wanting in some way”; those who generally criticised BBC news reporting with no evidence of an underlying agenda; and “those who formed part of an organised campaign to lobby against the BBC’s reporting, especially of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.

“Specific reference to the IsraeliPalestinian conflict is categorised as such,” it said.

The call for public contributions to be included in the review process for the first time came from Media Secretary Tessa Jowell at the launch of the corporation’s charter review last December.

The report also revealed that twothirds of BBC viewers think that the BBC “provides the best news and current affairs about Britain and the world”.

By Wale Azeez

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