Sunday 3 June 2018

John Simpson tweets that Israel has broken the Geneva Convention

And talking of matters Israeli and Palestinian...

Here's the BBC's World Affairs Editor John Simpson, brushing aside Gillian Reynolds-style concerns about the need for BBC journalists to "maintain steadfast independence of any political viewpoint", by claiming (on Twitter) that Israel has committed a war crime by contravening the Geneva Convention. 

That's not remotely ambiguous. He's explicitly saying it. 

What is the point of BBC impartiality guidelines if he can get away with this?

Regardless of that last question, he's already received thousands of 'likes' plus 'thank yous' galore on Twitter (overwhelmingly from people on the Left). And many of those people have also been berating the rest of the BBC for "ignoring" the story about the killing of Razan al-Najjar

Well, that's a point I think I can answer...

A number of people, both yesterday and today, were complaining that Sky had been leading with Razan's death and were demanding to know why the BBC wasn't covering it.

Now, having looked at this last night and again today (and having engaged with a lady on Twitter about it yesterday), it's simply not true that the BBC has ignored her death. 

The BBC News website had a report about it last night. (Admittedly I didn't find it on the website's home page yesterday, and got to it by Googling, but I did see it there on the home page for a time today). 

And the BBC News Channel covered it last night and throughout the early hours of this morning. Around 9pm last night it was actually the BBC News Channel's second story. 

Now in fairness to the BBC's critics here, despite that, Razan al-Najjar's death didn't then make it onto BBC One's main news bulletin, even though that bulletin mentioned the related matter of the US's vetoing of an anti-Israel UN resolution. And even I found that odd.

So what to draw from all of this? Well, firstly that the BBC's World Affairs Editor is evidently a law unto himself as far as BBC impartiality is concerned. And, secondly, that complaints about the BBC not covering something are perilous because the BBC can usually produce evidence that it has reported it, however briefly - somewhere, sometime.

Update: Tonight's main BBC One news bulletin has just covered the death of Razan al-Najjar in some detail. A report by Paul Adams made her its focus.

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