Hundreds rally outside BBC over Hamas coverage
Defence minister Grant Shapps said last week that the BBC should follow the “law” and call Hamas a terrorist organisation
People carry Israeli flags and placards during a protest at BBC Broadcasting House on October 16, 2023 in London, England. The National Jewish Assembly is protesting at the BBC’s refusal to label Hamas terrorists and comes after the militant group’s recent attacks on Israel. Hamas was prescribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK in March 2021. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Around 250 protesters gathered outside the BBC’s main headquarters in London on Monday (16) to express their dissatisfaction with the British broadcaster’s refusal to label Hamas as terrorists.
Demonstrators at the event, organised by Jewish groups, chanted “Hamas, terrorists” and “Shame on You” at the broadcaster for making the editorial decision to refer to Hamas as militants, or a militant group.
Many waved Israeli flags and others held posters carrying pictures of Israeli children kidnapped by Hamas.
Organisers, the National Jewish Assembly, wrote on Twitter that “this is no time the BBC to call Hamas anything but terrorists.”
Defence minister Grant Shapps also said last week that the BBC should follow the “law” and call Hamas a terrorist organisation, with the government having proscribed it as such in 2021.
But veteran reporter John Simpson, the BBC’s world affairs editor, said that the corporation would be “taking sides” if it called Hamas terrorists.
The BBC said in a statement on Monday that it had given “careful consideration” to its coverage of conflict.
“Careful consideration has been given to all aspects of our coverage to ensure that we report on developments accurately and with due impartiality in line with the BBC editorial guidelines, which are publicly available.
“The BBC, along with many other UK and global news organisations, does use the word ‘terrorist’, but attributes it. We have made clear to our audiences that Hamas is proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK and other governments,” it added.
Pro-Palestinian groups have also targeted the BBC, covering Broadcasting House headquarters in red paint last week and accusing it of having “blood on its hands.”