BBC issues correction for saying CST verified line in Chanukah attack report

The climbdown is a fresh blow for the BBC which is already under investigation by Ofcom


London, UK - July 3, 2014: BBC head office and square in front of main entrance with walking people

The BBC has been forced to issue a humiliating correction after implying the Community Security Trust hadverified the controversial Muslim slur claim in its controversial report about the Oxford Street bus attack. 

The BBC admitted that not only was the corporation itself responsible for any verification of the claim, it “may well have arrived at a decision to include the claim irrespective of … engagement with the CST.”

The BBC last week partially upheld a complaint about its reporting of the shocking attack on Jewish teenagers last November but it stood by its central claim that one of the youngsters had uttered an anti-Muslim slur as thugs spat at the bus and made Nazi salutes. 

However, issuing a statement following an internal investigation into the controversy, the BBC implied its version of the disputed events had been backed by the charity – which prompted a furious complaint from the CST.  

The climbdown is a fresh blow for the BBC which is already under investigation by broadcast regulator Ofcom for its controversial BBC London report on the November 29 attack.  

The BBC’s findings, issued last week, stated that the corporation “did not rely on its own assessment alone” and said it was “natural and appropriate that the BBC should turn primarily to the CST for verification..” 

However the CST was only asked to confirm whether the video of the attack was antisemitic in nature, not whether one of the youngsters under siege had issued a racial slur. 

Lodging a complaint last week, the charity said: “The CST completely rejects the claim … that (we) confirmed to the BBC on 2 December that an anti-Muslim phrase had been spoken on the Chabad bus that was attacked on Oxford Street. “ 

It added: “We were in no position to confirm (or not) whether the now much-disputed phrase in question had been spoken.” 

Issuing a fresh statement today, the BBC accepted its findings had given a misleading impression about the role of the CST. 

It concluded: “Where the finding states: ‘With hindsight, and in light of subsequent evidence that the recording was open to another interpretation, it might be argued that even further verification should have been sought…. We’d like to make clear that this reference does not imply that the CST provided verification of the existence of the slur.  The responsibility for such verification rests with the BBC journalists and managers responsible for the story.” 

The CST welcomed the correction. Chief executive Mark Gardner said: “Glad we got this turned around, but obviously it should never have been needed.” 

The Campaign Against Antisemitism organised a protest against the BBC on Wednesday night at its headquarters in London.

CAA projected what it claims were examples of the BBC’s bias against Jews or antisemitism from the past 18 months onto Broadcasting House.

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