BBC anchor on ‘bespoke delegation’ with BICOM


by Sunny Hundal    
1:25 pm - September 16th 2011

      Share on Tumblr

A key BBC anchor went on a ‘bespoke delegation’ with the pro-Israel lobby group BICOM, a leaked email shows.

An email by Lorna Fitzsimons, sent mistakenly to the press instead of donors, had this snippet:

BICOM has one of BBC News’ key anchors on a bespoke delegation. When planning her very first trip to the region, Sophie Long got in touch with BICOM to see if we could help her out with meeting in the region.

Sophie is now spending three days of her trip with BICOM Israel, taking a tour around the Old City, meeting Mark Regev and Dr. Alex Yacobsen, as well as visiting Ramallah and Sderot.

Should BBC journalists really be working so closely with highly partisan groups when organising editorial trips?

What kind of editorial balance is that?

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: News


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


1. Steve Ramsgate

Sorry, where in that document is there any reference to it being an “editorial trip”?

And afterwards? How do you know she isn’t taking a tour with a pro-Palestian group?

Moreover, balance doesn’t always mean in and of the same person.

so if she wanted to meet Fatah or Hamas reps and she went through Avaaz or the like would that be a problem? you’re on dodgy ground sunny

Isn’t BICOM the group that Staines and Cole are slagging off for not being as pro-Israeli as they would like?

so if she wanted to meet Fatah or Hamas reps and she went through Avaaz or the like would that be a problem

Sheesh – why has the level of trolling fallen these days?

Yes it bloody well would. An org like the BBC should be doing these events independent of influence from such partisan groups. Not too difficult a concept to understand, is it?

Sunny – Understanding what a group wants you to see is often very valuable. If that’s ALL you’re getting it’s a problem, but with the BBC it’s not.

This is a typical kneejerk anti-Israel rant. If it was another country, nothing would have been said. As usual.

Putting aside all the normal MR knee-jerk posts, is it not a bit that the BBC would ask for help from an organisation whose stated aim is as follows:

BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre, is an independent British organisation dedicated to creating a more supportive environment for Israel in Britain.

The worry isn’t that it’s Israel. The worry is that the BBC is asking for help from a bunch of lobbyists.

Lord above. Too many errors in that post. For “MR” read “ME”. Add word “worrying” after “is it not a bit”.

Y’see? All accuracy goes out of the window when discussing IP affairs!

An org like the BBC should be doing these events independent of influence from such partisan groups

Uhhhh???

I’d have thought that any journalist worth their salt would go out of their way to involve themselves with partisan groups. How else are they going to understand how these groups think? And if they don’t understand them, how can they accurately write about them?

As for the “influence” bit, if they’re incapable of disciplining their own thoughts to take account of this, then they’re in the wrong trade.

Journalists can’t just hang around with nice people y’know.

10. robert the crip

The BBC worked well with Labour so why not.

This is a typical kneejerk anti-Israel rant. If it was another country, nothing would have been said. As usual.

Oh grow up and find something more intelligent to say.

It gets worse. I gather that some BBC journalists went with a Government delegation to Russia earlier this week. And they spoke to people from the Government to organise travel, schedules, meetings etc.

“Yes it bloody well would. An org like the BBC should be doing these events independent of influence from such partisan groups. Not too difficult a concept to understand, is it?”

Sorry Sunny but that is beyond naive, its how journalism works.

Bicom want to present their case, broadcasters want access to Raghev and the like. If they can facilitate that fair enough. Just because a PR calls, doesn’t mean you swallow the whole line. You use your skills to process the story

14. Steve Ramsgate

Sunny, why do you insist on shoving your head in the sand and accusing everyone who disagrees with you of being a troll?

“BBC Is Pro-Israel” shock!

Given that DG Thompson hasn’t been averse to trotting off to Tel Aviv from time to time to ingratiate himself with Likud, and the Broadcorping Castration’s refusal to screen the DEC appeal for the victims of “Cast Lead”, who could possibly have guessed?

@13: “its how journalism works.”

Which may be why we have some of the worst ‘journalism’ in the ‘free’ world, and why the honesty of that trade is usually graded somewhere between estate agents and prostitutes.

@15 – It would indeed be a shock, given the pervasive pro-Palestinian bias, yes.

You expect the BBC to constantly break it’s rules in one side’s favour, but don’t care when the reverse happens…

Bicom want to present their case, broadcasters want access to Raghev and the like

No, actually, it doesn’t have to work like that. BBC journos can go to Israel independently, do their investigative work, and put through calls to govt officials.

It’s really not that difficult. this attempt to turn it around and pretend I’d have no problems if this were Hamas is just trollish behaviour. And it’s boring.

“No, actually, it doesn’t have to work like that. BBC journos can go to Israel independently, do their investigative work, and put through calls to govt officials”

which happens, but this is different and legit

If the BBC priggishly refused to meet or accept facilitation from other lobbying or interest groups – say, the TUC or Ed Miliband’s press office – where would they get the news?

@sunny hundal

I went with a BICOM delegation to Israel recently. They are very open and honest about their pro-Israel stance, and yet they present a much more balanced view on the conflict than I have seen from some other pro-Israel organisations. I don’t think it is a bad thing that journalists should have access to the pro-Israeli perspective put in a nuanced and informative light. That perspective is not very often heard in a British media discourse that all too often, lacking context, becomes incredibly polarised.

Sunny,

It appears you just can’t resist making a tit out of yourself by discussing Israel, yet again.

If you are finding it so difficult to fit things into your increasingly busy schedule need you spend time initiating another ‘naughty Israelis’ item?

Given that you run a decent site with fairly thoughtful conversation I am surprised you didn’t realise this was a poor piece to start with. Well below standard.

Ray Flair’s comment 20 sums up what you seem unable to appreciate.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    BBC anchor went on a 'bespoke delegation' with BICOM http://t.co/xLYgctku

  2. sunny hundal

    BBC anchor went on a 'bespoke delegation' with BICOM http://t.co/xLYgctku

  3. tracy e

    BBC anchor went on a ‘bespoke delegation’ with BICOM | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/6RlHsRmF via @libcon

  4. Rosie

    BBC anchor went on a 'bespoke delegation' with BICOM http://t.co/xLYgctku

  5. janet ewan

    BBC anchor went on a ‘bespoke delegation’ with BICOM | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/6RlHsRmF via @libcon

  6. Ben White

    BBC anchor went on a 'bespoke delegation' with BICOM http://t.co/xLYgctku

  7. riazbhatti

    BBC anchor went on a 'bespoke delegation' with BICOM http://t.co/xLYgctku

  8. Jonathon Blakeley

    BBC anchor on ‘bespoke delegation’ with BICOM | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Ge71D61n via @libcon





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.