BBC Editor Defends Controversial Gaza Hospital Reporting Amidst Media Backlash

Written By BlabberBuzz | Monday, 27 November 2023 16:20
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In a recent interview on the BBC network, Jeremy Bowen, the international editor, defended his initial reporting of an explosion at a Gaza hospital, stating he had no regrets about his coverage.

This follows several media outlets' initial reports attributing the explosion at the Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza to Israel, a claim Bowen echoed in his initial reports.

"The missile hit the hospital not long after dark. You can hear the impact. The explosion destroyed Al-Ahli Hospital. It was already damaged from a smaller attack at the weekend. The building was flattened," Bowen reported.

During his appearance on the BBC News channel's "Behind The Stories," Bowen maintained his stance, asserting that he did not rush to conclusions in his reporting. "So it broke in, I suppose, mid-evening. And to answer your question, no, I don’t regret one thing in my reporting, because I think I was measured throughout. I didn’t race to judgment," he stated.

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The BBC, along with other news organizations such as The New York Times, the Associated Press, and CNN, had quickly reported claims made by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry. On October 19, the BBC issued a correction to their reporting.

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"We accept that even in this fast-moving situation it was wrong to speculate in this way about the possible causes and we apologize for this, although he did not at any point report that it was an Israeli strike," the correction read, referring to reporting from BBC senior reporter Jon Donnision. "This doesn't represent the entirety of the BBC's output, and anyone watching, listening to or reading our coverage can see we have set out both sides' competing claims about the explosion, clearly showing who is saying them, and what we do or don't know."

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When questioned about his assertion that the hospital was "flattened," Bowen admitted to his error. "Oh, yeah. Well, I got that wrong because I was looking at the pictures and what I could see was a square that appeared to be flaming on all sides. And there was a, you know, sort of a void in the middle. And it was, I think it was a picture taken from a drone. And so, you know, we have to piece together what we see. And I thought, well, it looks like whole buildings gone. And that was my conclusion from looking at the pictures. And I was wrong on that. But I don’t feel too bad about that," Bowen said.

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The BBC has also faced criticism for its refusal to label Hamas as terrorists following their brutal attacks on Israeli civilians. After meeting with the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the outlet updated its policy and now refers to Hamas as a terrorist organization.

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"The BBC confirmed it was committed to continued dialogue. It also confirmed it is no longer BBC practice to call Hamas militants. Instead, the BBC describes the group as a proscribed terrorist organization by the UK government and others, or simply as Hamas," a press release from the Board of Deputies of British Jews stated.

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