A former BBC boss has called for an independent review into the corporation’s coverage of the Israel-Hamas war and said Britain’s Jewish community is “being harmed through its unbalanced reporting”.
The claims from Danny Cohen, a director of BBC Television from 2013 to 2015, follow a row last month that saw Israeli president Isaac Herzog threatening to block the channel from reporting from Israel over its refusal to describe Hamas as terrorists.
And last week the BBC apologised on air for a newsreader incorrectly saying Israeli soldiers were “targeting medical staff and Arab speakers” at Gazas al-Shifa hospital.
Mr Cohen told the Telegraph: “The time has now come for a long-overdue independent inquiry into the corporation’s editorial and management failures in its reporting of Israel.”
He claimed “the BBC’s credibility with the Jewish community is reaching a point of no return, with these incidents piling up on a daily basis there is only one conclusion to draw. Either the BBC’s senior management is complicit in these egregious examples of bias, these regular breaches of its guidelines, or it lacks the ability to control the output of its own organisation.”
A BBC spokesman said: “We take complaints about social media use very seriously, especially on such a sensitive and contested subject, and investigate accordingly.
“Impartiality is crucial for BBC news staff, and our guidelines require them to reflect a wide range of opinion in their social media. We will continue to remind all our journalists of their responsibilities.”
About 1,200 people have been killed on the Israeli side in the ongoing war, mainly civilians during the October 7 terror attack in which Hamas dragged some 240 captives back into Gaza. The military says 63 Israeli soldiers have been died, including 12 over the past 24 hours.
According to the health authorities in Gaza more than 13,000 Palestinians have died in the conflict.
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