BBC Apologizes for False Report Claiming IDF ‘Targeted Medical Teams’ in Gaza

The network’s misquote led to waves of criticism.
BBC Apologizes for False Report Claiming IDF ‘Targeted Medical Teams’ in Gaza
The scene at BBC Broadcasting House in London, after red paint was sprayed over the entrance on Oct. 14, 2023. (James Manning/PA)
Lorenz Duchamps
11/16/2023
Updated:
11/16/2023

The BBC has issued a public apology after a news anchor inaccurately reported that soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) “targeted” Arab speakers and medical staff at the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip.

“As BBC News covered initial reports that Israeli forces had entered Gaza’s main hospital, we said that ’medical teams and Arab speakers’ were being targeted. This was incorrect and misquoted a Reuters report,” BBC’s press team said in a Nov. 15 statement on X, formerly Twitter.

“We should have said IDF forces included medical items and Arabic speakers for this operation. We apologize for this error,” it added.

Monica Miller, a senior broadcaster for the network currently based in Singapore, misquoted the Reuters report on the Israeli military’s ongoing operation against the Hamas terrorist group during a live broadcast.

“We are hearing from Reuters that is reporting that Israel says its forces are carrying out an operation against Hamas in Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital, and they’re targeting people including medical teams as well as Arab speakers,” she falsely stated.

Ms. Miller’s misquote led to waves of criticism.

The original Reuters report included a quote from an IDF spokesperson that said Israeli forces were engaged in a “precise and targeted operation against Hamas” in a “specified area” of the al-Shifa hospital, further pointing out that medical staff and Arab-speaking translators were among Israeli soldiers to help civilians in the area.

“The IDF forces include medical teams and Arabic speakers, who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment, with the intent that no harm is caused to the civilians,” according to the IDF.

Shortly before the BBC issued its apology, the Board of Deputies of British Jews—the largest Jewish communal organization in the United Kingdom—criticized the mistake, saying in a statement on X that they were “absolutely appalled” by Ms. Miller misquoting the Reuters report.

“At best this shows a staggering lack of care when reporting on highly volatile situations, which can have a knock-on effect all over the world, including in Britain,” the umbrella group wrote, adding anti-semitic attacks in the country have increased by 500 percent since Oct. 7.

“Incidents like this make a mockery of the BBC’s oft-stated dedication to professionalism and impartiality,” the organization added. “The corporation must issue a public apology without delay for this egregious misreporting.”

Despite the BBC’s apology, the group said in a separate statement that they'll still be “following this up at the highest levels of the Corporation,” adding misreporting on the Israel-Hamas conflict is “unacceptable from our national broadcaster.”
The BBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.

BBC Under Fire for Sloppy Reporting on Middle East War

Last month, the BBC also came under attack for its coverage of the Israel-Hamas war, which former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett strongly criticized as “lacking moral clarity.”

“From the very beginning of this interview, you are asking me about them. It seems that you care little about our side,” Mr. Bennett said during a live interview with the broadcaster. “You care only about one side, but that is the BBC way.”

Mr. Bennett also questioned the U.K.-based broadcaster’s use of the term “militants” when referring to Hamas in its coverage of the ongoing conflict.

Palestinian terrorists ride an Israeli military vehicle that was seized by gunmen who infiltrated areas of southern Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip, on Oct. 7, 2023. (Ahmed Zakot/Reuters)
Palestinian terrorists ride an Israeli military vehicle that was seized by gunmen who infiltrated areas of southern Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip, on Oct. 7, 2023. (Ahmed Zakot/Reuters)
The BBC had defended its use of language in mid-October, saying the approach has been in use “for decades.” Its world affairs editor, John Simpson, said on Oct. 11 that using “terrorist” would make the report partial.
However, the broadcaster has since decided that it will no longer refer to Hamas as a “militant group” by default, according to the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
“The BBC confirmed it was committed to continued dialogue. It also confirmed it is no longer BBC practice to call Hamas militants,” the Jewish communal organization said in a press release on Oct. 20.

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is designated a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

From NTD News.