The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has now apologised for years of “unacceptable” handling of complaints about anti-Israel bias in its Arabic output.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been receiving complaints about anti-Israel bias in its Arabic output. Still, it has never done anything about it, which many perceive as a “disdainful” attitude towards Jewish concerns and an “unacceptable” handling of the complaints. However, the corporation has finally apologised for its mistake.
The apology came as a result of the petition launched by The Jewish Chronicle, which was aimed at restoring impartiality to the broadcaster. The petition demanded a parliamentary inquiry into the BBC’s coverage of Jews and Israel and is approaching 6,000 signatures from the settled 7,500.
Since the Gaza war in May 2021, the BBC has taken up to a year to respond to complaints about Israel coverage, with some complaints ignored completely, reports The Jewish Chronicle.
Resolving acknowledged and upheld complaints is also often delayed or, in some cases, is not done at all.
The BBC Charter requires a framework that provides “transparent, accessible, effective, timely and proportionate methods” of fixing problems. This means addressing complaints within ten working days when possible. But it has taken the BBC an average of four months to respond to a watchdog’s complaints about its Israel coverage in Arabic, with half the complaints ignored. After accepting errors in a report, the corporation often fails to correct the mistakes.
A BBC spokesperson apologised for failing to respond to Camera’s complaints, a media watchdog in the Arabic language. However, since May last year, the BBC upheld only 14 of Camera’s 26 complaints, with some corrections only acted upon after many weeks. None were rejected.
It comes amid mounting criticism of the BBC’s dismissive attitude towards Jewish criticism following Director-General Tim Davie’s belated “vacuous” response last week to an open letter from 36 parliamentarians and public figures sent in September.
A BBC spokesperson said: “Our complaints team are in regular and direct contact with Camera Arabic, who submit a comparatively large number of complaints to us each year. Whilst there has been dialogue on the complaints, we acknowledge that some of them have not yet been actioned or responded to with a formal outcome letter. We apologise for the unacceptable delay and will ensure formal responses are issued as soon as possible.”
A spokesperson for the Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is backing the JC’s campaign, said: “As calls mount for a parliamentary inquiry into antisemitism at the BBC, this feels like a forced apology. For years, the BBC has shown a disdainful attitude towards Jewish concerns and failed to engage with the community’s complaints.
BBC Arabic has an audience of 36 million people worldwide and is seen as a voice of authority in the region, raising further fears that its repeated errors have “fanned the flames of hatred”.
Original article: The Jewish Chronicle