The BBC has issued an apology for years of improperly responding to complaints of anti-Israel bias by its Arabic network.
Complaints about the BBC’s Arabic coverage of Israel and Jewish issues took up to a year to be responded to or were not responded to at all, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
The issue came to the forefront after the Gaza conflict in May 2021, with corrections to erroneous reporting delayed for even longer or never published.
The BBC issued an apology as support mounts for a parliamentary inquiry into antisemitism at the UK’s national broadcaster.
“We apologize for the unacceptable delay and will ensure formal responses are issued as soon as possible,” a BBC spokesperson said.
But a Jewish advocacy group was not convinced that the BBC was serious about addressing the problem.
“As calls mount for a parliamentary inquiry into antisemitism at the BBC, this feels like a forced apology. For years, the BBC has shown a disdainful attitude towards Jewish concerns and failed to engage with the community’s complaints,” Campaign Against Antisemitism told the news outlet.
“The BBC is seen as an authoritative voice around the world, and it is disturbing to consider the extent to which the views expressed on BBC Arabic may have fanned the flames of hatred over the years.”
With BBC Arabic viewed by 36 million people internationally, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (Camera) told the Chronicle that the broadcaster’s foreign language programming is “inadequately overseen” by BBC officials.
“The BBC’s complaint system is unable to meet its own standards when it comes to content in Arabic about Israel and Jews,” Camera said. “That the BBC’s foreign language content is inadequately overseen by its management is a well-documented fact. Now we see that even when the Arabic-speaking BBC audience is trying to step in and do the management’s work for it, we still face impassable obstacles.”