BBC clears Panorama on flotilla

By Marcus Dysch, April 28, 2011

A Panorama programme which investigated the Gaza flotilla incident has been largely cleared of inaccuracy and partiality by the BBC's editorial standards body.

The BBC Trust apologised for three breaches of accuracy and impartiality, but rejected dozens of complaints from Palestine Solidarity Campaign supporters.

Death in the Med interviewed IDF soldiers and activists involved in last May's incident, concluding that those on board the Mavi Marmara ship had been politically motivated.

PSC campaigners said the programme had included "shockingly biased reporting". But the Trust's investigation concluded Panorama had "achieved due impartiality and due accuracy overall" and was "an original, illuminating and well-researched piece of journalism".

The three breaches of editorial guidelines related to the failure to consider preliminary autopsies on the nine killed activists, coverage of how the Israelis treated the injured and descriptions of aid on board.

More than 2,000 people contacted the BBC with around 72 per cent giving negative feedback. The Trust rejected 48 points raised by campaigners.

The PSC claimed the Trust's admission on the three points represented a "major victory" for their campaign, but admitted they found the full ruling to be "less than satisfactory".

In a separate ruling, Ofcom rejected a complaint from the Free Gaza Movement that it was unfairly portrayed in the programme.

Last updated: 11:40am, April 28 2011