Change BBC boilerplate on Gaza casualties to reflect disputed figures
Almost uniquely among news organisations the British Broadcasting Corporation has a duty to impartiality that is not just implied by the professional journalism they claim to practice but also legally by Royal Charter:"The BBC is required to deliver duly impartial news by the Royal Charter and Agreement and to treat controversial subjects with due impartiality"[BBC Trust Editorial Standards].
The full petition:Modify the BBC Gaza boilerplate "on the Palestinian side more than [whatever is their current claim] have been killed, the majority of them civilians" to "Hamas sources claim [whatever is their current claim] have been killed, the majority of them civilians. However Israeli sources strenuously contest this claim as to both the total number and the percentage of those killed who can be claimed to be civilian".
The BBC Gaza boilerplate has been consistently"on the Palestinian side more than [whatever is their current claim] have been killed, the majority of them civilians"generally without mentioning their source by Hamas who have a clear interest in both exaggerating the total and the composition. As seen in the previous 2008-9conflict in Gaza also known as Operation Cast Lead Hamas figures can not be relied on.
Less frequently the BBCattributes thefigures to the United Nations. In Gaza well over 95% of UN employees are local Palestinians. The majority and definitely most of those in decision making positions have a strong Hamas connection.
By consistently treating casualty figures in the current Israel/Gaza conflict, usually not acknowledging that they have been provided by the Hamas Ministry of Health, a clearly biased source, as an undisputed fact the BBC are in breach of both their legal and ethical obligations toimpartiality. As they are well aware that other analysis disputes both claims they are obliged, as a minimum, to inform their readers/viewers/listeners that the figures may be other than claimed and any implication drawn from those figures may therefore be faulty.
Israeli sources strenuously contest both the total number and the percentage of those killed who can be claimed to be civilian.
The Hamas total figures are alleged toinclude double and triple counting; persons who died from natural causes in that period and persons executed by Hamas for alleged collaboration. The claim that 'the majority of them are civilians' has been disputed by ananalysis of names of the deceased with known members of military-type organisations.
When Hamas realised that Israel was checking the names against known members of terrorist organisations they ordered that names be withheld. However ages (also disputed in some cases) and gender has been released showing that themajority of dead were men of fighting age while women and children are much less represented than their proportion of the Gaza population would indicate.This strongly suggests that the combatant/non-combatant ratio is much lower than claimed and indeed is much lower than in any recent, similar conflict over the world.
As the BBC complaints system is known for its Byzantine rules and slowness, a complaint, even if acknowledged, would most likely be dealt with so far in the future that the biased figures will have become 'history by repetition'. Consequently we have decided to petition both the BBC and its governing body the BBC Trust in the hope that thousands of signatures will persuade them to impartiality, at least in this one issue.
[The photograph illustrating this petition illustrates the dual identity of a dead operative in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Left: Death notice for Mohammed Mounir Ashour posted by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades (paldf.net, July 11, 2014).Right: Mohammed Mounir Ashour in a Palestinian police uniform.]
More on the reasoning behind this petition at ... and the majority were not civilianshttp://5mfi.com/and-the-majority-were-not-civilian/