biased against Palestinians,
Matt Wells, media correspondent
Tuesday April 16, 2002
British television news is routinely biased towards the Israeli
view of the conflict, according to academic research.
As a result of lobbying by the Israeli government's public relations
machine and the difficulties of explaining a complex story in ratings-driven
bulletins, few people can understand the roots of the story, the
Glasgow Media Group suggest.
Young people in particular are unaware of key elements of the conflict.
In a sample of 300 questioned by the researchers, only 9% knew that
Israel was the occupying force.
When the intifada began in 2000, a team led by Professor Greg Philo
of Glasgow University examined 3,536 lines of text transcribed from
89 news bulletins. Only 17 lines were devoted to the conflict's
Consequently, he said, the Israeli side was favoured, because attacks
were portrayed as responses to Palestinian acts.
Writing in today's Guardian, he adds: "A news journalism which
seeks neutrality should not endorse any point of view, but there
were many departures from this principle."
The broadcasters deny bias. Roger Mosey, BBC head of television
news, said: "I don't believe there's any institutional bias
towards one side or other in the Middle East conflict."
ITN said: "We've been covering this conflict fairly and impartially
for more than half a century. We are not in the business of providing
a daily history lesson."