| | | Effective PR

How the BBC buried Hamas' landmark statement on peace and the future.

Editorial Staff

Yesterday, Hamas, which now has effective political control over those parts of Palestine that Israel does not occupy, issued a landmark statement which announced its new Charter. It was an amazing document, with almost everything that Israel could reasonably expect from a peace treaty, except the inevitable refusal to acknowledge an Israeli state as a legal entity, while acknowledging it as a fact. It was such a departure from the previous position, that only the most radical and racist Israeli could possibly dismiss it out of hand. So Israeli president Netanyahu did just that. The BBC simply gave this extraordinary news such a low priority that it does not appear on any of its early mobile screens.

The "most read" section is, at the time of writing, promoting stories that are, mostly, at least 24 hours old. They contains such vacuous items as the so-called Ed Balls Day and a four day old story about social media companies being the target of scams.

But that's just mobile so it's not like the real service is it, some might say (despite the fact that mobile is a massive share of the BBC web presence). But no, the desktop version at bbc.com scrolls for six full screens with not a mention of the Hamas statement. Not a single word. So we can find out about the hidden costs of large transport projects, a history of walls from Hadrian to Trump and the reaction of Indians to that New York gala.

No matter how far one scrolls down the pages, there is nothing about the Hamas statement. Perhaps it's buried somewhere, relegated to even less important stories than the click-bait promos for e.g. BBC Autos and other badly written and supremely vacuous sections. But PBI could not find it. Did we search? No. One only searches for stories that one expects to find and, if the BBC doesn't cover it, it's almost as if something didn't happen. And if it's not on the front page, it's not important, right?

There are no comments from UK politicians, many of whom are vocal on the Middle East when it suits them. There are no comments from either Palestinian or Israeli-supporting groups anywhere in the world There is nothing from US politicians despite the BBC's online focus on the American market.

The BBC, with its enormous global resources, has no comment from anyone at the United Nations, despite the considerable concern there, and the fact that the Hamas statement not only meets much of what the UN has suggested but in some cases goes further. No, from the BBC, there is, quite simply, radio silence, tv silence, web silence unless its somewhere hidden.

The BBC is, in our view, biased in its reporting of the Arab-Israeli conflict and, in news coverage, any criticism of Israel is almost entirely absent although in some current affairs programmes a more balanced view is tendered.

When Israel announces anything, it's immediately front page news, even when it has little genuine value. But when there is momentous good news from the Palestinian side, it's buried or ignored. What has the BBC come to?