A Parliamentary inquiry into the BBC’s bias against Jews has been announced.
The inquiry’s secretary will be former Labour MP Lord Austin, who bravely stood up against antisemitism in the Labour Party and is also an Honorary Patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism.
He wrote: “Members of both houses [of Parliament] have told me they are concerned about the BBC’s reporting on issues around antisemitism and Israel, especially after the Ofcom report. That is why we have established this inquiry.
“Our inquiry will be wholly impartial and rigorous and will simply aim to produce a report that offers expert guidance and recommendations for the corporation to address when it comes to antisemitism and Israel, the handling of complaints and the ‘culture of defensiveness’ identified by Ofcom.”
He was referring to Ofcom’s recent decision censuring the BBC for its “serious editorial misjudgement” over its abominable coverage of the antisemitic incident on Oxford Street last Chanukah, attacking the BBC’s failures over the course of “eight weeks” which were “causing significant distress and anxiety to the victims of the attack, and to the wider Jewish community”.
In response to that coverage, Campaign Against Antisemitism held a “BBC News: Stop Blaming Jews!” protest outside the BBC’s headquarters at Broadcasting House, which was endorsed by Lord Grade and Dame Maureen Lipman.
Other members of the inquiry’s panel include Labour peer Lord Turnberg, former Labour minister Lord Triesman, Conservative peer Baroness Eaton, former BBC Governor Baroness Deech and Baroness Fox.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “The launch of this inquiry, after a campaign led by the JC, is a critical step in bringing much-needed accountability to the BBC. The broadcaster’s biases were put under scrutiny by Ofcom, but they have been present for many years, manifested in partial and prejudiced coverage, advancement of controversial narratives, platforming of inflammatory pundits, and repeated dismissal of antisemitism complaints. That is why we have been at the forefront of efforts to hold the BBC to account, and why we supported the JC’s call for this inquiry.”
Polling that we conducted in 2020 for our Antisemitism Barometer revealed that two thirds of British Jews were deeply concerned by the BBC’s coverage of matters of Jewish concern, and 55% by its handling of antisemitism complaints. It is likely that these figures would be even higher if polled today.
Campaign Against Antisemitism monitors traditional media and regularly holds outlets to account. If members of the public are concerned about reportage in the media, they should contact us at [email protected].