(By: Manisha Fernando)
BBC, or the British Broadcasting Corporation is renowned for their deliberate and biased misrepresentation of facts and events during its history of news reporting. It is true that human beings are not perfect and susceptible to "human - mistakes". But apparently the reporters and editors of BBC seem to have a knack for deliberately misinforming the events without due diligence. During the last decade, the reports and news items carried by the BBC in the mass media including its official news web, are ample proof of the unethical, unprofessional and conscious misrepresentation of facts and events across the world. A closer view shows that the news items are always more or less biased towards the attitudes of the reporter or the editor.
Despite the mounting proof that BBC has been falsifying current events, the BBC always hides behind a veil of a piece of legislation called the "Freedom of Information Act". They say, that the act provides them "immunity" to publish any item, irrespective of whether it is verified, accurate or not and whether it has been soundly investigated and factually correct as they are not compelled to divulge the source of information. The fact that BBC is in dire need of funds to maintain its operations have also made it susceptible to biases when reporting.
In the last few weeks, the BBC went on a rampage of deliberately reporting and damaging the image of Sri Lanka, with the publication of several news items on the War on Terror in Sri Lanka. The recent one being the article published on 21st of April, 2009, where the BBC website's headline news read "Sri Lanka Army Accused of Carnage" (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8009459.stm ). The news item's headline apparently was based on the information the BBC had allegedly obtained from a member of the LTTE, a UK proscribed terrorist group. A few hours later however, the title had "mysteriously" changed to read as "Sri Lanka Army accused of 'killing civilians'". Both articles claim to show a video of the civilians hurt by 'alleged' military fire, when in fact the video does not reveal anything of such nature! It also claims that it shows the civilians 'fleeing the war zone', when in fact it is actually depicting the civilians who have escaped from the clutches of the LTTE after the Sri Lanka army opened the LTTE built earth bund!
Further, not a single article in the BBC carried the aerial footage aired by the government of Sri Lanka on the mass exodus of civilians who were rescued by the Sri Lanka army after breaking through the earth bund built by the LTTE. Nor did BBC carry any video footage depicting the LTTE shooting at the fleeing civilians. However these were seen live at the Air Force Operational Room by several diplomatic dignitaries including the ambassador for UK. Obviously a rational mind would also agree that the spy satellite launched just a few days ago by India would have contradicted this aerial footage if it was found to be false!
This is an example of the biased and blatant misinforming and misrepresenting of facts consciously and deliberately. Either the BBC reporter was not aware of the meaning of the word "carnage" or he deliberately used it for personal gains perhaps of the monetary kind. Why else would such a blatant title decorate the headlines of the BBC?
The question then is who would have benefitted? Simply by clicking on the BBC Sinhala website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/), we find that it still carries the article under the original heading even as at 22nd April, 2009, with a few changes 'here and there'. Ironically the editor of the BBC Sinhala website is a Sri Lankan migrant, Priyath Liyanage and the article claims that a terrorist had contacted the BBC or perhaps Priyath by phone to "inform" the ground situation! The article also claims that the in the backdrop of the phone call, the sound of gun fire and explosions were heard. One would expect a terrorist to be either fleeing for his life or retaliating with gunfire against the Sri Lanka military IF they were indeed being allegedly 'bombed' or 'heavily fired' at by the Sri Lanka Army, rather than waste precious minutes to make an international call to the UK to talk to the BBC! Or perhaps the simple explanation is some fellow somewhere would have called the BBC office with a TV in the backdrop airing a war movie!!! Wonder how the BBC was so sure it was the real thing and not a TV set in the backdrop! But as far as the freedom of information act goes we will never know!!!
What is more amusing is that today (22nd April), the BBC carried a (news) article titled "Bitter end for Sri Lanka's rebels?" by Alastair Lawson, (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8010079.stm) citing the opinions of two individuals - the AFP bureau chief in Colombo Amal Jayasinghe, and the BBC Sinhala editor domiciled in England, Priyath Liyanage. Understandably, the prominence of the article airs the views expressed by the BBC Sinhala editor, despite the fact he had his foot on UK soil - with little knowledge of what is happening on Sri Lankan ground!!! How would he be in a position to give a full commentary or an expert individual opinion - unless of course he had sufficient information from either the LTTE or the SL Government sources to form that opinion?
Is it also possible that BBC is so news deprived that they publish individual opinions??? News to the ordinary man means the reporting of facts and events. Opinions can be expressed as it is a fundamental right of an individual, true - but these opinions need to be balanced where they are made public by a media organization, and hence opinions of critiques of several dimensions would undoubtedly add value to any article. The fact that BBC uses the "easy-come easy go" motto to abstract opinions of the easiest accessible person means that they have surely lost sight of their reporting objective and true journalistic professionalism.
Also we raise the rational question why would BBC has two spoons to serve various terrorist outfits proscribed by the UK government - why whitewash a proscribed terrorist group like the LTTE and black mark another proscribed terrorist group like the Al-Quida? Not a single article of BBC carries factual evidence that LTTE is a freedom fighter and Al-Quida is not. Nor do these articles show that atrocities of LTTE are far less in magnitude compared to that of Al-Quida!
The answers to these rational questions are simple - BBC stoops and sheds its ethics for a few dollars more!!! The main source of BBC's income is from its license fees. Over the period, the financial statements of BBC show that it's profit margins have shown only a marginal growth, especially in Europe and the 'Rest of the world'. Perhaps its bid to 'create' news and contradictory views by reporting arbitrary information is a desperate bid to improve its income, ratings and viewership.
Whatever said and done, the World has to accept the fact that the Sri Lanka Army, together with the Sri Lanka Air Force and Navy are the only military units in the world to genuinely fight a ruthless terrorist outfit; dismantling and destroying its terror grip on innocent civilians; regaining over a 3rd of the countries land; and finally launching the largest ever humanitarian rescue operation by liberating over 100,000 Tamil civilians trapped and held under duress by the LTTE. This is supported by the video footage covering the frontlines and aerial videos of the Air Force - not to mention the various spy satellites across the globe that must be keenly watching all our movements. It would not be surprising now, at the eleventh hour, for various foreign countries to try and lend assistance (either by push or pull), just so that they could claim to have been part of a Winning Team and an honourable cause!
Selected instances of BBC's misrepresentation of facts & news items (from a very long list of documented and reported events...)
To prove that BBC has over the years was indeed engaged in instances of deliberately misinforming the world at large we give below a few of the many instances as proof of BBC's deliberate misrepresentation of facts and news items across the world. Contrary to the practices of the BBC we provide the sources of information for our readers to verify!
1. BBC accused of wasting license fee in battle to suppress 'Mid-East' bias report
By PAUL REVOIR (Last updated at 20:51 25 January 2008)
The BBC has spent an estimated œ250,000 in licence-fee cash on a court battle to block publication of a report into its alleged bias when covering the Middle East.
The expensive saga was prompted by a member of the public who has repeatedly tried to force the document's release under the Freedom of Information Act. Yesterday the broadcaster fought off a renewed attempt to force public disclosure of the so-called Balen Report.
But anger is growing over the corporation's secrecy ? and the amount of money which has already been soaked up by the case. Apart from wasting money, the BBC has also been accused of hypocrisy since its staff regularly use the Freedom of Information Act to source news stories. More can be read at:
However, in summary, the report goes to say that it is fought in court and that BBC may have to pay large amounts of legal fees - especially at a time 1,800 jobs were being axed!!!
2. BBC panel finds broadcaster breached guidelines on Israel
By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz Correspondent
In reporting about Israel, BBC's Middle East Editor has breached the corporation's guideline on accuracy and impartiality, an internal BBC complaints panel on Wednesday stated.
The Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland said that the findings show that the BBC has an anti-Israel "bias" and that the position of the editor, Jeremy Bowen, is "untenable." The corporation rejected these claims.
"The findings are extremely serious," Jonathan Hoffman, the Federation's co-vice chair, told Haaretz. "They demand urgent and visible action by the BBC to restore public confidence. The BBC should start by publishing the Balen Report, which it has spent five years and a reported œ200,000 trying to keep under wraps." (Refer http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1078501.html)
3. BBC false report earns WFP apology to Sri Lanka (Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 3.46 GMT)
The World Food Program in Sri Lanka has apologized to the Government of Sri Lanka over a grossly false comment on the country by one of its officers broadcast by the BBC, describing Sri Lanka as a Somalia.
The Country Director of the WFP in Sri Lanka, Mr. Adnan Khan yesterday (Dec 10) made the apology at a meeting with Secretary of Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, over a story on the BBC Sinhala Service that quoted an officer of the WFP, one John Campbell who works for the WFP in non-liberated areas, about the IDPs in the North stating that "conditions for displaced people there are as basic as in Somalia".
The WFP's Country Director has told the Secretary MoD that an inquiry would be launched into this matter and an official statement issued on it.
4. BBC chief at centre of blunder over Leibovitz photoshoot with Queen
From Times Online (July 12, 2007)
The BBC was forced to defend one of its top bosses tonight after he wrongly claimed that the Queen had "walked out in a huff" during fly-on-the-wall documentary, leading to a humiliating apology by the corporation to the Royal Family.
Apparently, the scene which purported to show the Queen storming out of the room was, in fact, a shot of her walking into the photoshoot - and that the alleged walkout never happened. After initially apologizing at lunchtime today, the BBC tonight issued a fresh statement trying to explain what it said was a miscommunication.
5. BBC Guilty of Venality in Its Misreporting on Venezuela
By Stephen Lendman, Global Research, October 12, 2006
Listeners and viewers expecting to find a safe alternative to the corporate-controlled media by turning to the BBC better reconsider their choice based on the vaunted news organization's reporting on Venezuela and specifically on the misinformation it put out in an online piece on October 8 titled - "Mass Venezuela opposition rally." It claims "Tens of thousands of people have marched through the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, in support of the main opposition candidate, Manuel Rosales."
If readers of this piece just went to VHeadline.com, they'd have gotten a much different picture - from the actual photo of those "tens of thousands" that, in fact, may have been all of a single ten thousand or so in the streets in a show of tepid support at best and not what anyone would call "mass." Shame on BBC and its reporter in Caracas Greg Morsbach for lying for the power interests he serves, so he reports what they want put out even if it's not true.
Based in Caracas for the BBC, correspondent Morsbach must know a massive crowd when he sees one as Hugo Chavez draws them every time he addresses a rally that routinely turns out en masse in a tsunami of red-shirted supporters to see, hear and cheer him. He surely can tell the difference between a huge Chavez crowd and the puny one for Mr. Rosales on October 8, many of whom were likely just on the Caracas streets and curious to see what was going on. BBC must think this kind of misreporting is the way to maintain a gilt-edged reputation as a reliable news service. The sad truth is that reputation got tarnished many years ago and went to pieces in the shameless reporting the UK-based news organization did in the run-up to the Iraq war when it's entire news operation went into overdrive functioning as a state propaganda service for our government and theirs.
The article tells of how the BBC deliberately misinformed the world by saying that the masses gathered for Rosales, when in fact it was for Hugo Chavez. This is ample proof of the political bias of the BBC. Read it at http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3456
6. BBC indicted as accessory to war crimes in Istanbul
David Miller - Unspun
The World Tribunal on Iraq has indicted media organisations, including the BBC for their role in aiding and abetting US and UK war crimes in Iraq. The World Tribunal received scant attention in the Western media and there have been no headlines reporting the findings on the media. The Tribunal issued its findings on 27th June after a gruelling and harrowing four day session hearing evidence. The charges laid 'Against the Major Corporate Media' were as follows:
1. Disseminating the deliberate falsehoods spread by the governments of the US and the UK and failing to adequately investigate this misinformation. This even in the face of abundant evidence to the contrary. Among the corporate media houses that bear special responsibility for promoting the lies about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, we name the New York Times, in particular their reporter Judith Miller, whose main source was on the payroll of the CIA. We also name Fox News, CNN and the BBC.
2. Failing to report the atrocities being committed against Iraqi people by the occupying forces.
The news article states As the Tribunal noted 'The legitimacy of the World Tribunal on Iraq is located in the collective conscience of humanity', and that Spinwatch took part in the evidence sessions and made several charges as well. With regard to BBC it stated, quote "The BBC is indicted for unbalanced coverage, for failing to access experts who would give a critical view; failure to access the anti war movement; showing very little scepticism about government claims; bowing under government pressure." Unquote.
The full report can be read at http://www.spinwatch.org.uk/blogs-mainmenu-29/david-miller-unspun-mainmenu-31/3193-bbc-indicted-as-accessory-to-war-crimes-in-istanbul
The list for BBC's false reporting and misrepresenting of facts is endless. A few other articles can be read at the following locations:
* Fears of bias as BBC gets œ141m in EU loans, by Jonathan Oliver, Political Editor, From The Sunday Times (January 27, 2008) :
* BBC - Allegations of bias http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC
* 'Hunter': A Shameless BBC misrepresentation, posted by Assistant Editor in Abortion Articles, News on 28 January 2009. http://prolife.org.uk/hunter-a-shameless-bbc-misrepresentation/
* BBC misrepresents Iranian nuclear story :
* BBC investigated after peer says climate change programme was biased 'one-sided polemic', by Tamara Cohen (Last updated at 2:54 AM on 27th September 2008):
* BBC Corrects False Report, by Ricki Hollander and Maxime Myer-Smith (March 11, 2008)- an article of how BBC seems to have reported on how a house had been plundered to the ground and of tampered / adulterated photos.
And the list goes on!!!!