THE BBC and THE MIDDLE EAST A CRITICAL STUDY - EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
April 17, 2002 - From IMRA

TREVOR ASSERSON And ELISHEVA MIRONI (Research Assistant)

[Trevor Asserson is a UK solicitor based in London. He is a partner in an international Law Firm where he is global head of litigation. He was called to the Israeli Bar in 1992.

Elisheva Mironi is an Israeli lawyer, who has recently obtained her Masters in Human Rights Law including Media Law at University College London.]

Executive Summary

This study seeks to provide a thorough analysis of BBC coverage of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and to assess the BBC's adherence to its own Guidelines, in particular with respect to its obligations of impartiality and accuracy.

As far as possible we have sought to approach the material in an objective manner. We have selected material in a consistent non-random fashion, and have likewise analysed a variety of 'control' sources in a similarly non-random fashion.

We have found that the BBC preserves a superficial impartiality by allotting broadly similar time to supporters of each side to the conflict. However against most other criteria we have found the BBC to fall consistently short of its aim of impartial and accurate reporting.

Breaches are at times subtle, and such as might pass unnoticed by a casual observer. Some breaches are perhaps minor, and would not be worthy of note in isolation. Taken together however we believe that even these subtler or more minor breaches reveal a clear and significant trend of bias.

Some of the breaches are in our view quite glaring. At times, by a mere selection or omission of facts, the BBC provides a report which portrays the very opposite of the truth. Frequently the BBC report is misleading. At times it appears to invent material to suit its own bias.

Whilst some errors of judgement will inevitably occur, we detected a consistent trend which demands an explanation beyond mere error. All of the many breaches of the Guidelines which we have highlighted in this report appear to us to indicate a marked and consistent pro- Palestinian bias within the BBC.

This report could not have been written without the dedication, intelligence and skill of my research assistant Elisheva Mironi.

This report contains the independent views of the author.

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