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BBC defends coverage of Gaza conflict after bias accusations

country-wide demonstrations in London, Manchester, Newcastle, and Liverpool took issue with alleged 'bias' towards Israel

Published: Updated:

The BBC has defended its reporting of the latest spate of conflict in Gaza after it was slammed in a 45,000-strong online petition organized by a pro-Palestinian group and faced a large demonstration outside its London headquarters.

While country-wide demonstrations in London, Manchester, Newcastle, and Liverpool took issue with alleged “bias” towards Israel, the public broadcaster also received complaints that it favors the Palestinians.

On Tuesday, protesters presented an open letter from various anti-war groups including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to the BBC chief outside London’s Broadcasting House.

Sarah Colborne, the director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, estimated the number of people at the London protest at “more than 5,000,” the London-based daily The Guardian reported.

The letter presented by protesters claimed news coverage was “devoid of context or background.”

“We would like to remind you that Gaza has no army, air force, or navy, while Israel possess one of the strongest militaries in the world,” the letter added.

“When you portray the occupier as the victim, and the occupied as the aggressor, we would like to remind you that resistance to occupation is a right under international law.”

BBC response

In response, the BBC, which did not cover the London-based protest in any of its news bulletins, said in a statement that “BBC News reports widely and extensively across TV, radio and online, on many different aspects of this ongoing and complex conflict,” according to The Guardian.

“Our role is to explain what is happening and why and we endeavor to reflect a range of voices, amid deeply held views. We are committed to continuing to report and analyze sometimes fast moving events in an accurate, fair and balanced way.”

And in response to why the broadcaster did not cover the protest on its down headquarters, a spokesperson said: “We cover stories based on how newsworthy they are, and what else is happening.”

“Many of our programs focused on detailed reporting and analysis of the latest developments in the Gaza conflict rather than a protest about our reporting.”