BBC News executive says corporation made 'mistake' over coverage of Gaza hospital blast

Jonathan Munro, deputy CEO of BBC News, also said the broadcaster's 'language wasn't quite right' during their reporting of the Al Ahli Arab Hospital blast


A senior BBC executive has admitted the corporation made a "mistake" while covering the rocket blast of a Gaza hospital.

Jonathan Munro, the deputy chief executive of BBC News, said the broadcaster's "language wasn't quite right" during their live reporting of the blast on the Al Ahli Arab Hospital on Tuesday. 

Journalist Jon Donnison said Israeli forces were responsible. Reporting the attack just after 8pm on BBC News, he said: “It’s hard to see what else this could be really, given the size of the explosion, other than an Israeli airstrike or several airstrikes.” 

Speaking at the Media Society's Reporting The Israel Hamas Conflict event on Thursday, Munro explained: "The correspondent (Jon Donnison) was wrong to speculate about the cause of the explosion of the hospital.

"At no stage did he actually say it was caused by the Israelis... but nonetheless, when the impression is left that we've speculated, (it) is important to correct that which we've done."

Munro added: "Somewhere along the line, human beings are going to make a mistake on a bit of output and when it gets magnified and is used as an example of getting things wrong, it's a very uncomfortable place to be.

"And of course, it shouldn't have happened and we need to make sure that we're doubling down on... (keeping) our language absolutely accurate."

The IDF said the blast at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza was caused by a misfired rocket from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group and released imagery and communications intercepts aimed at supporting their case.

Meanwhile, Hamas claimed an Israeli air strike led to the blast, with Gaza health officials saying it killed at least 500 people.

Munro also defended the BBC's policy not to use the word "terrorist" when referencing Hamas and added: “There's absolutely no way that we are trying to equalise what's going on between Hamas and Israel in any way, shape, or form.

"We've used very strong language; atrocity, mass murder, abduction and kidnapping."

It comes after Israeli president Isaac Herzog said a "correction" had to be issued over the BBC's coverage of the Hamas terrorist attack.

He said: "We feel that... the way the BBC characterises Hamas is a distortion of the facts."

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