BBC rejects review by US lobby group

By Marcus Dysch, April 29, 2010

The BBC presents Israel in a negative light and undermines the Jewish state's image, according to a new study published by Honest Reporting.

The American-based monitoring group analysed articles on the BBC website between January and March and found that while 51 stories reflected negatively on Israel, only two portrayed the Palestinians negatively during the same period.

It said 18 stories on the conflict expressed a Palestinian viewpoint without an equal Israeli response.

Trends in the coverage included suggestions Israeli actions undermined the peace process, articles leading with the Palestinian perspective, and complex historical issues being presented without proper context.

HonestReporting's Yarden Frankl said: "A story based on a gross distortion may be easier to identify as bias. But the soft, but corrosive bias, that pervades day-to-day coverage has a greater impact on the way Israel is perceived by the general public."

A BBC spokeswoman said: "It's not uncommon to hear these sorts of findings from pressure groups but our role is to provide independent reporting and analysis of all perspectives of a story, so our audiences can make sense of what's going on themselves.

"The independent panel set up by our board of governors found no deliberate or systematic bias in the BBC coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict."

Last updated: 3:18pm, April 29 2010