Thursday, February 17, 2005

Blogstorm coming

Hot on the heels of Eason Jordan's accusation that the US army targeted journalists, the BBC has broadcast and partially retracted the accusations of the Rev Dr John Bell of the Iona Community that the Israeli army deliberately targeted children. Melanie Philips reports:

Now the BBC has made partial amends. After today's Thought for the Day, the Today presenter announced that the BBC had posted an apology for 'inaccuracies' in last Thursday's broadcast on its Ethics and Religion website. It says the following:
'We have talked to the Israeli authorities and we are unable to find any evidence to support the story told to Dr Bell and recounted by him on Thought for the Day. We also understand that Dr. Bell made two factual mistakes in his script. Those facts should have been checked before the broadcast. The Religion and Ethics department apologises on behalf of the BBC and regrets the offence that was caused.

It then goes on to recount Dr Bell's own apology. Amazingly neither of the two factual errors referred to relate to the accusation of targeting children.

This appears to show that Dr Bell is standing by his accusation of deliberate targeting, and also that the BBC does not feel that the accusation should have been checked before broadcasting.

I get the feeling that this one will run for a long time.