The Israel-Britain Alliance (IBA) is campaigning against the BBC’s coverage of Israel and its conflict with Palestine. The IBA is a UK based organisation that aims to “celebrate Britain’s relationship with the State of Israel” and bring “clarity to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. The group is encouraging supporters to contact their MPs to express concern regarding alleged breaches of BBC editorial rules. IBA states that the BBC has a “unique mandate” to “help people understand and engage in the world around them” but argues that the organisation is failing in its duty to provide impartial news.
It is an important principle of the BBC’s Charter that the BBC is operationally and editorially independent. The BBC also has a duty under both the BBC Charter and the Broadcasting Code to deliver impartial and accurate news. Indeed, the agreement accompanying the BBC Charter requires the BBC to do all it can to ensure controversial subjects are treated with due impartiality in its news and other output. It is the BBC’s job to report the facts and it is vital that the BBC does so in an accurate, impartial and balanced way.
I recognise concerns about the accountability of the BBC. I would like to see the BBC democratised so that it is more accountable to, and representative of, the public it serves.
On the specific issue of Israel-Palestine, I am committed to pressing for a comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on a two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a secure and viable state of Palestine. However, this will require both sides avoiding actions that make it harder to achieve and would include an end to blockade and occupation, and an end to rocket and terror attacks. I would like to see every effort made to return to meaningful negotiations leading to a diplomatic resolution.