Friday, August 18, 2006

The BBC and Hezbollah

The BBC's Jim Muir on reporting restrictions in Lebanon:
“There have basically been no restrictions on reporting as such - there’s been no pressure in any direction with regard to anything we actually say, indeed very little interaction of any sort. There was however an issue at the beginning of the conflict over the live broadcast of pictures of rockets going out from locations visible from our live camera position. We were visited by Hezbollah representatives and told that by showing the exact location of firing we were endangering civilian lives, and that our equipment would be confiscated.”
So Hezbollah admitted to the BBC that they were firing from civilian areas. Did Muir or any other BBC journalist report this?

Either Muir is playing down Hezbollah's influence over reporters in Lebanon or the terrorists trust the BBC more than other news organisations such as CNN, NBC, CBS and Time:
CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson admitted that his anti-Israel report from Beirut on July 18 about civilian casualties in Lebanon was stage-managed from start to finish by Hezbollah. He revealed that his story was heavily influenced by Hezbollah’s "press officer" and that Hezbollah have "very, very sophisticated and slick media operations."

When pressed a few days later about his reporting on the CNN program Reliable Sources, Robertson acknowledged that Hezbollah militants had instructed the CNN camera team where and what to film. Hezbollah "had control of the situation," Robertson said. "They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn’t have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath."

Robertson added that Hezbollah has "very, very good control over its areas in the south of Beirut. They deny journalists access into those areas. You don’t get in there without their permission. We didn’t have enough time to see if perhaps there was somebody there who was, you know, a taxi driver by day, and a Hezbollah fighter by night."

Yet Reliable Sources, hosted by Washington Post writer Howard Kurtz, is broadcast only on the American version of CNN. So CNN International viewers around the world will not have had the opportunity to learn from CNN’s "Senior international correspondent" that the pictures they saw from Beirut were carefully selected for them by Hezbollah.

Another journalist let the cat out of the bag last week. Writing on his blog while reporting from southern Lebanon, Time contributor Christopher Allbritton, casually mentioned in the middle of a posting: "To the south, along the curve of the coast, Hezbollah is launching Katyushas, but I’m loathe to say too much about them. The Party of God has a copy of every journalist’s passport, and they’ve already hassled a number of us and threatened one."

Robertson is not the only foreign journalist to have misled viewers with selected footage from Beirut. NBC’s Richard Engel, CBS’s Elizabeth Palmer, and a host of European and other networks, were also taken around the damaged areas by Hezbollah minders. Palmer commented on her report that "Hizbullah is also determined that outsiders will only see what it wants them to see."
Still, it's hardly surprising that Hezbollah seems far happier to let the BBC do what it wants when its reporters are coming up with stuff like this.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check this out, it doesn't get more blatant than this in terms of bias.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5273772.stm

2:52 pm  

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