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BBC Gaza correspondent 'not fit for purpose'

The newly formed BBCWatch organisation has today drawn our attention to yet another incident that borders on propagandising, and fails to live up to the journalistic standards expected of the BBC

by on 19 November 2012 09:52

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Following the recent escalation in Gaza, there has been, as a part of efforts to focus on balance in reporting, renewed scrutiny of BBC reporting from the region.

Over recent days, The Commentator has pointed out various inaccuracies and misleading information emanating from the region, with various commentators and BBC staff seemingly either fundamentally misunderstanding the latest conflict, or at worst, intentionally misleading the viewing public.

The newly formed BBCWatch organisation has today drawn our attention to yet another incident that borders on propagandising, and fails to live up to the journalistic standards expected of the BBC.

Jon Donnison, who we have mentioned on a number of occasions before, has taken to tweeting the conjectures of Gazan activists and often retweets images and messages without the appropriate journalistic level of scrutiny. A crucial example of his Twitter activism comes as BBCWatch highlights that Gazan 'activists' are utilising imagery either from a previous conflict, or not from Gaza at all.

As you can see, Donnison adds his commentary, "Heartbreaking" to an image tweeted by Hazem Balousha, tagged #Gaza. But the image is not from Gaza at all. 

The original image actually comes from October, from Syria, where the Assad regime has been brutally murdering over 37,000 Syrians over the past year. A simple scan through image search engines like TinEye would have led Donnison to this fact, but it appears his activist side is getting the better of the journalist in him.

Twitter of course, is a ground in which many can claim that their tweets and 'personal' and not representative of the organisation they represent. But Donnison's followers, it can be robustly argued, do not follow him for his personal musings, but rather, for his reporting as a BBC correspondent on the ground.

The BBC was embarrassed last week when it appeared that a man they had shown to be injured in Gaza was in fact part of a Palestinian propaganda effort, with the man being seen walking around unharmed moments after the original footage was screened.

Questions are now arising as to the reliability of BBC reporting, and whether the organisation is in fact representing good value for licence-few payers' money. 

UPDATE: Donnison has retracted the Twitter image and tweeted this: 

A photo I retweeted from another journo yesterday showing children injured was NOT in Gaza as I said but apparently from Syria. Apologies. — Jon Donnison (@JonDonnison) November 19, 2012

A spokesperson for BBCWatch said: "Donnison has rendered himself no longer fit for the purpose of accurate and impartial reporting from the Middle East in accordance with the BBC’s legal obligations."

You can register your complaints here.

Read more on: BBCWatch, gaza, BBC Gaza correspondent , twitter, BBC Middle East coverage, Israel , pro palestine, and Jon Donnison
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