Sunday 8 November 2020

"It should not have been shown and we apologise for the offence caused"

Three weeks ago we published a post about Melanie Phillips's strong criticism of the BBC for allowing BBC Arabic to broadcast a piece about Ahlam Tamimi - a notorious female Palestinian terrorist who murdered 15 people, including seven children, and injured more than 130 in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. Melanie said that BBC Arabic "sympathetically presented" her story, titled it with her name and the words "Your voice is loud and clear", and "framed as a sentimental human interest story" which "whitewashed the murderous activities" of her and her terrorist husband and "presented them as victims of censorship and the Americans". It ended with a plea from the terrorist to Jordan's King Abdullah. 

Well, the BBC has now issued an apology on its Corrections and Clarifications page admitting that the segment breached BBC editorial guidelines and that it "should not have been shown":

BBC Arabic Trending BBC World Service, Monday 8 October 2020 
On 8 October, the BBC Arabic Trending programme broadcast an item on Ahlam Al-Tamimi’s appeal to the King of Jordan to be re-united with her husband. Ahlam Al-Tamimi is a Jordanian citizen who was convicted in Israel and sentenced to multiple life sentences after 15 people including 8 children were killed in a suicide bombing in Israel in 2001. She was released to Jordan in a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel in 2011 but remains on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list for conspiring to kill US nationals. This segment of the programme was in breach of our editorial guidelines and we have removed the clip from all our digital platforms. It should not have been shown and we apologise for the offence caused.

This, of course, is to be welcomed, but is removing the clip from its digital platforms the full extent of the the BBC's response to this? Shouldn't it be the subject of a proper investigation? Who was responsible for this report? Who authorised its broadcast? Has any disciplinary action been taken? Will any disciplinary action be taken?

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