BBC News made a “mistake” while covering the immediate aftermath of an explosion outside a hospital in Gaza City, a senior member of staff at the national broadcaster admitted Thursday.
The Hamas terror organization blamed an Israeli air strike for the deadly attack on Tuesday, while the Israeli military said al Ahli hospital was instead hit by a fallen rocket misfired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
BBC correspondent Jon Donnison was reporting live on air addressing claims a hospital in the region, which borders both Egypt and Israel, had been struck by a bomb or missile.
Donnison, who has worked for Britain’s publicly-funded broadcaster for 25 years, told viewers the Israeli military had been contacted for comment adding: “But it’s hard to see what else this could be really given the size of the explosion other than an Israeli air strike or several air strikes.”
BBC News is just one organization that rushed to blame Israel for the event.
At the Media Society’s Reporting The Israel Hamas Conflict event on Thursday, the Independent reports deputy chief executive of BBC News Jonathan Munro backtracked. He said the broadcaster’s “language wasn’t quite right” during live reporting.
The director of journalism at the corporation said “The correspondent (Jon Donnison) was wrong to speculate about the cause of the explosion of the hospital.
“At no stage did he actually say it was caused by the Israelis… but nonetheless, when the impression is left that we’ve speculated, (it) is important to correct that which we’ve done.”
He added: “Somewhere along the line, human beings are going to make a mistake on a bit of output and when it gets magnified and is used as an example of getting things wrong, it’s a very uncomfortable place to be.
This BBC News admission follows Israel’s president Isaac Herzog telling UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday there should be a “correction” issued over the BBC’s coverage of the conflict in the Middle East and its refusal to label Hamas as terrorists.
Herzog told Sunak during his visit: “We feel that… the way the BBC characterises Hamas is a distortion of the facts.”
The BBC’s mea culpa comes days after over a thousand protesters gathered outside the broadcaster’s London headquarters in Oxford Circus to condemn its refusal to describe Hamas as a terrorist group, as Breitbart News reported.
State Broadcaster BBC Coming Under Pressure For Refusing to Call Hamas ‘Terrorists’ https://t.co/qyZXMzUKL6— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 11, 2023
The protest, organised by the National Jewish Assembly (NJA) was described by its chairman Gary Mond as being “a fantastic demonstration of support for Israel”, amidst a very different crowd to those seen at the vigils last week in Whitehall.
Hamas has been proscribed a terrorist organization by both the U.S. and U.K. since 2021.
The BBC continues to refer to them instead as “militants,” which has sparked criticism from both viewers and politicians, including foreign secretary James Cleverly and culture secretary Lucy Frazer.