BBC refuses to identify Israeli capital on London 2012 Olympics site

By Jennifer Lipman, July 19, 2012

Paris, Rome, Tbilisi and even Tehran and Damascus appear on the site, but the BBC has refused to identify the capital of Israel on its Olympic website.

As part of its reporting on London 2012, the BBC has created dedicated web pages for each Olympic nation.

Until Wednesday afternoon, the page offering information about the Palestinian team referred to its capital as East Jerusalem, but the equivalent page for Israel made no mention of a capital city at all.

After being alerted by the JC to the inconsistency, a BBC Olympics official said an error was made “when the data was uploaded” and agreed to “change this in line with BBC policy”. It took until 4pm on Thursday for thsi change to be made.

But rather than designate capital cities, the BBC said this meant browsers would now be informed that the “seat of government” for Israel is “Jerusalem, though most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv”.

Likewise, the Palestinian page will now state that its “intended seat of government” is “East Jerusalem. Ramallah serves as administrative capital”.

A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy criticised the BBC for failing to adhere to the standards of “professional journalism”.

But he added wryly: “We are certain that as soon as the senior editors of BBC become aware of it, this will be rectified — as a double standard towards Israel doesn’t adhere to BBC standards.”

Last updated: 3:22pm, July 19 2012