BBC accused of siding with Hamas after refusing to refer to them as ‘terrorists’

The corporation is coming under increasing pressure for telling its journalists to describe the Palestinians behind the atrocity in Israel as militants.

Presenter Nick Robinson defended the broadcaster for following “long-standing practice”.

But a group of the UK’s most senior lawyers, Lord Wolfson KC, Lord Pannick KC, Lord Grabiner KC and Jeremy Brier KC, has written to broadcasting regulator Ofcom calling for it to investigate the decision.

They said that the BBC has taken sides by talking about Hamas in “more sympathetic terms”.

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“On 7th October 2023, Hamas launched a large invasion of the State of Israel which resulted variously in the slaughter, rape and abduction of over a thousand Israeli citizens,” the letter states.

“There is nothing controversial about that. It is a fact.

“The BBC has fallen well below the standards expressed in its Editorial Values in reporting of that invasion and the consequences therefrom.”

The lawyers said by “watering down” descriptions of Hamas, which is classed by law as a terror group, it is failing to be impartial.

“It necessarily involves the BBC ‘stepping into the arena’ and taking sides so as to describe Hamas in more sympathetic terms,” the letter adds.

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“Put another way: in trying to be impartial, the BBC has become partial.”

Robinson, a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, insisted the language rules are standard practice.

He said: “No one watching the reporting of my BBC colleagues in Israel can have any doubt of the horror of what has happened.

“I understand entirely why some want the word ‘terrorism’ used. It is, though, the long-standing practice of BBC, ITV and Sky to report others using that language rather than using it ourselves.”

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