The BBC has suspended several of its journalists associated with the BBC Arabic news portal and launched an internal investigation into their actions after staff appeared to endorse Hamas’ terror attack in Israel.
Reporters working for the British taxpayer-funded corporation in the Middle East were found to have made several communications and interactions on social media in relation to the bloody offensive by Hamas that left more than 1,300 Israeli civilians dead, sparking a number of complaints over perceived bias within the organization.
An independent investigation by the U.S.-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), reported its findings to the BBC, providing evidence of concerning behavior by several members of the organization.
One journalist allegedly described the atrocities committed by Hamas on Oct. 7 as a “morning of hope,” while another posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the attack had left “Israel’s prestige crying in the corner.”
Others, including Cairo-based correspondent Salma Khattab, liked a post describing Hamas as “freedom fighters,” while Beirut-based programs editor Nada Abdelsamad reposted footage of Israeli civilians in hiding who were described as cowering “inside a tin container in fear of the Palestinian resistance warriors.”
Another senior correspondent was reported to have poked fun at the relatives of an Israeli grandmother who was abducted by Hamas and is being held captive in Gaza.
In addition to the remarks of certain individuals, the impartiality of BBC Arabic’s output, both through its TV channel and news website, has been called into question after referring to towns within the recognized state of Israel as “settlements” and the local residents as “settlers.”
In total, six reporters and a freelance journalist have become the subject of an investigation into alleged anti-Israel bias, and some of those involved have been suspended.
Freelancer Aya Hossam liked a post that suggested that no Israeli could be classed as a civilian, as “every member of the Zionist entity served in the army at some point in his life, whether men or women, and they all had victims of explicit violations… This term ‘civilians’ applies to the animals and pets that live there and they are not seriously at fault.”
Hossam also reposted a comment that read, “The Zionist must know that he will live as a thief and a usurper.”
CAMERA accused the broadcaster of “whitewashing the practice of targeting Jewish civilians.”
“They constantly claim that they apply the same editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality to their services in all languages, including those with which BBC management is not familiar and can’t oversee properly, such as Arabic. But these lapses do not occur anywhere near as frequently in their English language content, so that can’t be taken seriously,” a statement from the U.S.-based organization read.
On Sunday, the BBC issued a statement announcing the investigation and confirmed that Ms. Hossam would no longer be working with the organization.
“We take allegations of breaches of our editorial and social media guidelines with the utmost seriousness, and if and when we find breaches we will act, including taking disciplinary action,” a spokesperson said.
The public broadcaster has been embroiled in controversy following the attack on Israel, which has sparked formidable retaliation in Gaza after editors refused to refer to those involved in the Hamas surprise attack as “terrorists.”
This is despite Hamas being classified as a proscribed terror organization by the U.K. government back in 2021, thus justifying the use of the term for a corporation that strives to be impartial.