BBC admits it was wrong in debate

Backtrack comes after reporter suggested Oslo Peace Accords meant Israel is obliged to carry out inoculations


The BBC has admitted it was wrong to suggest Israel has a responsibility to vaccinate Palestinians against Covid-19 under the terms of the Oslo Accords.

In an interview with journalist Jonathan Sacerdoti for the programme Dateline London, presenter Shaun Ley suggested the peace agreement meant Israel should vaccinate all Palestinians.

Mr Sacerdoti insisted that it was the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority, whose own health ministry said it would seek vaccine supplies through the World Health Organisation.

The BBC, following a complaint about the exchange from the public about the programme, which aired on the BBC News Channel on January 16, has since issued a correction and admitted it was wrong.

In a statement to the JC, the BBC rejected suggestions of bias and insisted BBC Arabic shared “the same principles of accuracy and impartiality as BBC News in English”.

In a statement this week it said: “We suggested that under the Oslo Accords, Palestinian healthcare is ultimately the responsibility of the Israeli government.

“Although there is a wider dispute over the issue, the Accords, which Israel signed with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, give the Palestine Authority oversight of public health under the principles of self-determination.”

The correction comes in the wake of a JC investigation earlier this month that revealed evidence of anti-Israel bias and inaccuracies in the BBC’s Arabic service.

A detailed dossier of apparent breaches was handed to Broadcasting House that catalogued evidence of the service downplaying attacks on Israelis, using language inspired by Hamas and showcasing extreme views without challenge.  In one case a map was published in which Israel was erased.

The BBC was forced to acknowledge 25 mistakes in its Arabic coverage over the course of just over two years – issuing an average of nearly one correction every month.

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