As Ofcom finds BBC guilty, 8,500 JC readers say: Parliamentary inquiry NOW!

The watchdog’s verdict vindicates our campaign for proper scrutiny of the broadcaster


The Jewish community’s concerns were vindicated this week as Ofcom ruled that the BBC had “failed to observe its editorial guidelines on due impartiality and due accuracy” in its reporting of the Oxford Street Chanukah attack.

The watchdog’s landmark judgment bolstered the JC’s campaign for a parliamentary inquiry into the BBC’s coverage of Jews and Israel following a long string of failures, breaches and intransigence.

Our petition demanding action from Westminster has so far attracted about 8,500 signatures. (To sign, please visit

Lord Andrew Roberts, one of Britain’s most respected historians, told the JC: “This welcome decision by Ofcom greatly enhances the calls for a full parliamentary inquiry into BBC bias regarding Israel.

“The BBC, excellent in so many areas, does not recognise its own intense bias in this important one, but an inquiry would force it to examine itself critically, and root out a form of discrimination that it would be the first to highlight with any other group, ethnicity or nationality.”

It comes amid deep frustration in the Anglo-Jewish community over a string of controversial moves by the BBC, including the defiant use of Abdel Bari Atwan — who has repeatedly praised terrorists — as a high-profile pundit.

Last week, the BBC was forced to apologise for its “unacceptable” handling of complaints about anti-Israel bias in its Arabic output.

In the damning verdict published on Monday, Ofcom criticised the BBC’s decision to stand by its weak allegation that the Jewish victims had used a racial slur against their attackers, without reporting that the victims disputed it.

The BBC had “failed to observe its editorial guidelines on due impartiality and due accuracy”, the watchdog said.

“[It failed] to acknowledge promptly that there was a dispute about its interpretation of the audio, after it received evidence to support an alternative explanation that the words it had heard were in fact a Hebrew phrase, meaning ‘Call someone, it’s urgent’.”

Ofcom said the BBC’s failure to update the BBC News online article to reflect the dispute for almost eight weeks was a “significant and concerning omission”.

It stressed that the national broadcaster had “made a serious editorial misjudgment by not reporting on air at any point that the claim it had made in the news broadcast was disputed, once the new evidence emerged.”

It added that this was “particularly the case given that the BBC was aware that its news broadcast and online article were causing significant distress and anxiety to the victims of the attack, and to the wider Jewish community.”

The watchdog concluded: “If the BBC had reported on the dispute on air and amended the online article sooner than it did once new evidence emerged, this could have gone some way to help resolve the issues raised by complainants and would have enabled the focus of attention to be on the antisemitic incident itself, and not the BBC’s reporting.”

To sign the petition, open your mobile phone camera, point it at the square QR code (below), then tap on the link that pops up; or visit

We are happy to make clear that the BBC made a full apology for failings in relation to this matter in January 2022, following the findings of its own Executive Complaints Unit.

Those findings were consistent with those of Ofcom, which published its report in November 2022 at which point the BBC reiterated its apology. Ofcom stated there had been “a significant failure to observe its editorial guidelines to report news with due accuracy and due impartiality”. The BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit found the reporting “fell below expected standards of due accuracy and impartiality”. 

We accept these points were not made clear in original reporting (in November 2022) nor had the BBC been “maintaining the fiction that its reporting was word perfect” ahead of Ofcom’s report. Further, there was no finding of guilt by Ofcom, nor a breach of the broadcasting code.

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