In a rare turn of events, the BBC apologized Wednesday for earlier reporting that “medical teams and Arab [sic] speakers were being targeted” in the Israeli army’s raid on Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital.
The BBC said in an aired clarification that it had “misquoted a Reuters report,” adding that it should have stated that “IDF forces [participating in the raid] included medical teams and Arabic speakers.”
A BBC newsreader misquoted a Reuters report on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operation, telling viewers that soldiers were “targeting people, including medical teams as well as Arab speakers.”
In reality, the Reuters report carried an Israeli military statement, saying that IDF medics and Arabic-speaking troops were on the ground to ensure that “supplies reach those in need.”
“We apologize for this error that fell below our editorial standards,” the broadcaster said.
The IDF had previously announced that “medical teams of the IDF together with Arabic-speaking soldiers” were present in the field.
The BBC said the error “fell below our usual editorial standards” and was corrected within minutes of the mistake being made. The BBC later apologized for the error in a statement on-air.
The BBC has previously admitted that it was “wrong to speculate” on who was responsible for the devastating blast at Gaza City’s Al-Ahli Arab hospital last month.
Jon Donnison, an experienced BBC correspondent, told viewers: “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.”
During a Campaign Against Antisemitism debate this month, Rhodri Talfan Davies, a top BBC executive, admitted that the broadcaster had made mistakes in the “fog of war.”
“Mistakes happen in news reporting. It’s an incredibly confusing picture with huge amounts of live broadcasting taking place,” he said. “The question is: do we ’fess up and put things right as quickly as possible? We didn’t wait for people to complain but made it very clear that we got it wrong.”
In a tweet, the Board of Deputies said that it was “absolutely appalled” by the mistake, which it contented “shows a staggering lack of care when reporting on a highly volatile situation, which can have a knock-on effect all over the world, including in Britain, where antisemitic attacks have risen by more than 500 percent since October 7th.”
“Incidents like this make a mockery of the BBC’s oft-stated dedication to professionalism and impartiality. The Corporation must issue a public apology without delay for this egregious reporting,” it stated.
The clip of the false report was shared on social media, garnering major criticism and outrage. Following the incident, a satire show based in Israel mocked the broadcaster in a skit, which was shared on X, formerly Twitter by Chris Rose. The video clip has gained over 1.4 million views so far. The three-and-a-half-minute sketch, which was broadcast over the weekend depicted the broadcaster as intentionally misinterpreting facts to present the terror organisation in a positive light as per Haaretz.
During the skit, the Israeli TV show, Eretz Nehederet’s BBC presenter said, “39 days after Hamas freedom fighters peacefully attacked Israel we have now an exclusive interview with its leader Yahya Sinwar.” However, Sinwar quipped, “There were also freedom rapists and freedom butchers.”
The presenter then said, “Of course. I apologize. Mr. Sinwar, I understand you are now working toward a cease-fire.” To this, Sinwar declared, “The situation in Gaza is terrible Rachel. All innocent civilians are running out of town so we are left without protection.”