How could they have made such a terrible mistake?
This from Jonny Paul for the Jerusalem Post:
The BBC apologized this week for referring to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and promised not to repeat “the mistake,” following a complaint by four British organizations.
Arab Media Watch, Muslim Public Affairs Committee, Friends of Al-Aksa and the Institute of Islamic Political Thought sent a joint complaint to the BBC after a presenter on its Football Focus program on March 24 mentioned that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital and “historic soul.”
This from the BBC Editorial Complaints Unit:
A representative of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK complained that the reporter in the film broadcast immediately before the England v Israel football match in Football Focus (BBC1, 24 March 2007) had referred to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Although the programme-makers had apologised privately for the error and removed it from the programme’s website, the matter was one of such sensitivity and concern to the Palestinian people that the complainant believed a broadcast correction and apology was necessary.
BBC Editorial Complaints Unit’s ruling:
The reference was a passing one in a context where the focus was on sport, not politics. While recognising the sensitivity of the issue of the status of Jerusalem, the ECU took the view that the programme-makers had taken sufficient action by acknowledging the error and rectifying the website.
Further action: Complaint resolved
The BBC bent over backwards to appease the Muslim groups. This from the BBC’s appeasement letter:
“We of course accept that the international community does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and that the BBC should not describe it as such. I was therefore pleased to see that Katherine Tsang [BBC Information adviser], when she wrote to you in April, acknowledged the error and apologized for it. [Presenter] Steve Boulton and other senior managers in BBC Sport told us they very much regret the mistake and apologize for it.”
“Senior managers will try to ensure, as you suggest, that the mistake is not repeated. Because it appears on the Web site, there will be a public acknowledgement of the error, and the action taken in consequence.”
“I’d like to add my apologies for this most regrettable, but I’m sure accidental, factual mistake. I appreciate that the status of Jerusalem is of particular concern to Palestinians, and it is important that it is not misrepresented. I am confident that lessons have already been learned, and they will be emphasized as a result of my decision.”
Just as Jerusalem’s status as the capital of Israel preceded the existence of the BBC, so it shall remain the capital of Israel long after the BBC is buried in history’s graveyard.
Crossposted from The American Israeli Patriot.