BBC Chief Grilled Over Israel-Hamas Coverage, Defends ‘Impartiality’ newsbhunt


BBC director general Tim Davie was grilled over the corporation’s coverage of the Israel-Hamas war during a meeting on Wednesday night with the 1922 Committee of Conservative Members of Parliament, particularly over the broadcaster’s policy not to call Hamas “terrorists.”

Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, the BBC has received backlash from the public and government alike for its refusal to use the term, despite Hamas having been deemed a terrorist organization by the U.K.

According to The Telegraph, Davie was confronted during the meeting — which the BBC said was part of his regular check-ins with the U.K.’s political parties — by Minister of Immigration Robert Jenrick, who said he’d “never been so disappointed,” adding: “I worry that the organization has lost the confidence of many people and in particular the British Jewish community. That loss of confidence began with the BBC’s refusal to call Hamas terrorists. Will you reconsider that and change your editorial policy?”

In response, Davie stuck by the BBC’s policy, pointing to the fact that when referring to Hamas the corporation often mentions that it has been deemed a terrorist organization by the U.K. government. “We are impartial,” a BBC spokesperson added later. “It’s not about being neutral, it’s about being able to report in the U.K., in Gaza, in the Middle East, whereas if the BBC is seen to be an arm of the U.K. government, that makes our journalism very difficult and it impacts the way it’s perceived and trusted.”

According to the BBC, the spokesperson went on to say that a review of the corporation’s editorial policy is due to occur next year. Earlier on Wednesday, BBC News chief executive Deborah Turness posted a message regarding the broadcaster’s coverage of the ongoing conflict, echoing its “commitment to impartiality.”

“We have faced criticism and complaints that we are biased both for and against Israel, and for and against the Palestinians. We cannot afford to simply say that if both sides are criticising us, we’re getting things right. That isn’t good enough for the BBC or for our audiences. At the BBC we hold ourselves to a higher standard and rightly challenge ourselves to listen to our critics and consider what changes to make where we think that criticism is fair,” Turness wrote. “The trust of our audiences must always be our priority — and it’s important that we listen to them. We are constantly monitoring audience feedback on our coverage of this war, and it tells us audiences think the BBC remains the most impartial U.K. news source.”

She added, “While we strive to hold true to our 100-year commitment to impartiality, we of course sometimes get it wrong. That’s when it’s important to acknowledge where we could have done better, and to learn from any mistakes.”


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