Chief Rabbi had secret meeting with BBC chief over Oxford Street coverage

The unprecedented talks were said to be 'constructive'


London, United Kingdom - January 17 2021: Broadcasting House, BBC headquarters in Central London, exterior view.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis held an emergency meeting with BBC Director-General Tim Davie over the corporation’s controversial coverage of the Oxford Street hate attack, the JC has learnt.

The unprecedented meeting at Broadcasting House last Thursday was the first time the Chief Rabbi has ever raised specific editorial concerns with the BBC’s Director-General. The talks were said to be “constructive”.

It comes amid ongoing anger over the BBC’s reporting of the antisemitic attack on Chanukah last November, which featured a disputed claim that the Charedi victims of the abuse could be heard using an anti-Muslim slur.

The coverage is now the subject of a probe by media watchdog Ofcom, which has said it is looking into whether the corporation breached accuracy rules.

In further humiliation for the BBC, last week it was forced retract a claim that the Community Security Trust had verified the Muslim slur claim in a conversation with a BBC reporter.

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

A spokesman for the BBC said: “The Director General was very pleased to meet the Chief Rabbi and they had an open, positive and constructive discussion.”

The announcement by Ofcom came in the wake of a internal investigation by the BBC’s Executive Complaint Unit which ruled the corporation was wrong to categorically state that an anti-Muslim slur could be heard from the bus where Jewish teenagers took shelter as they were spat at and abused by a gang of thugs. In a statement to the JC, the youngsters denied they had uttered any anti-Muslim remark.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism organised a second protest against the BBC at its headquarters in London last week.

CAA projected onto Broadcasting House what it claimed were examples of BBC bias against Jews and antisemitism from the past 18 months.

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