BBC's Bowen: Problems in US-Israel relations 'enjoyable'

By Jessica Elgot, May 14, 2010
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Jeremy Bowen said the analysis was an editing error, and he had meant to attribute the 'enjoyment' to Palestinians

Jeremy Bowen said the analysis was an editing error, and he had meant to attribute the 'enjoyment' to Palestinians

The BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen has said that a report where he described the tension in US-Israeli relations as “enjoyable” was down to an editing glitch.

In his piece ‘Analysis: Bleak climate for Mid-East talks’ for the BBC News website, Mr Bowen wrote: “It has been an unusual and enjoyable new experience to be able to look on as the Israelis argued with their most important ally.”

In an email to Just Journalism, which monitors UK media reports on the Middle East, Mr Bowen said there had been a “glitch in [his] editing process” and that he had meant to attribute the feeling of enjoyment to the Palestinians.

The article has been amended on the BBC website but no acknowledgement of the error has been made. It now reads: “It has been an unusual and enjoyable new experience for Palestinians to be able to look on as Israel argued with its most important ally.”

Just Journalism said the original report went against the BBC’s editorial policy which states that reporters and editors may “provide professional judgments but may not express personal opinions on matters of public policy or political or industrial controversy.”

The policy goes on to say that readers and viewers should not be able to detect the personal views of a writer from his or her report.

Just Journalism said in a statement: “It seems unlikely that the readers of this BBC article would not be able to tell the personal view of Jeremy Bowen in this instance.

“The fact that he claims openly to have enjoyed watching Israel struggle in its relations with its most important ally more or less precludes the possibility of an interpretation of neutrality.”

    Last updated: 9:56am, May 17 2010