Sunday 3 November 2013

Half the story...

On forums such as this, or Biased BBC, or the Spectator, Telegraph, Mail, Commenter or Central Trending (etc), you can read comments on an almost daily basis alleging that the BBC treads on eggshells when reporting on misdeeds by UK Muslims. 

Some of the allegations made against the BBC are much stronger than that, of course, claiming outright censorship on the BBC's part, in the supposed interests of maintaining positive cultural relations and not fanning so-called Islamophobia.

So what do you make of this?

Sky News has a prominent and arresting headline on its homepage:
Bangladesh Death Sentence For UK Muslim Leader
The story is ranked fourth in Sky's running order.  

Go to the BBC News website and, in tenth place, is a much less arresting headline (especially given peoples' tendency to ignore foreign news that doesn't seem to concern us directly):
Pair guilty of Bangladesh war crimes
The BBC's tendency to call up people from the Muslim Council of Britain more regularly than people at, say, the Quilliam Foundation [and many others] would like, makes it all the more intriguing that the BBC article doesn't mention Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin's relationship with the MCB, while Sky tells us that the London-based Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin "was involved in setting up the Muslim Council of Britain", and repeats the point later in the same article:
Mr Mueen-Uddin, who came to the UK in 1973, has held positions in a host of top Islamic organisations, among them the Muslim Council of Britain - the country's largest umbrella group representing Muslims.
The well-balanced Sky News article also gives more angles on the story than the BBC, and includes more information (such as the fact that "the dead included nine university teachers, six journalists and three physicians"). It is also less biased towards reporting the adverse reactions (from critics of the trial) than the BBC article. 

It really does pay to read well beyond the BBC's reporting to get a fuller picture of any such story.

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