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HomeNewsBBC editor defends his reporting after false Gaza hospital claim

BBC editor defends his reporting after false Gaza hospital claim

BBC international editor Jeremy Bowen faced questions about his initial reporting of an explosion at a hospital in Gaza on Saturday and said he did not regret his mistakes during an interview on the network on Saturday.

Many media outlets initially blamed Israel for an explosion at a hospital in Gaza. Bowen reported that the Al-Ahli hospital was flattened.

“The missile hit the hospital not long after dark. You can hear the impact. The explosion destroyed Al-Ahli Hospital. It was already damaged from a smaller attack at the weekend. The building was flattened,” Bowen said.

Bowen, during an appearance on BBC News channel’s “Behind The Stories,” said he did not regret his reporting and that he was “measured throughout.”

“So it broke in, I suppose, mid-evening. And to answer your question, no, I don’t regret one thing in my reporting, because I think I was measured throughout. I didn’t race to judgment,” he said.

The BBC was among several news organizations, including The New York Times, the Associated Press and CNN, that reported claims made by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry.

The outlet issued a correction to the reporting on Oct. 19.

British Broadcasting Corporation London
British Broadcasting Corporation London – Getty Images

“We accept that even in this fast-moving situation it was wrong to speculate in this way about the possible causes and we apologize for this, although he did not at any point report that it was an Israeli strike,” referring to reporting from BBC senior reporter Jon Donnision. “This doesn’t represent the entirety of the BBC’s output, and anyone watching, listening to or reading our coverage can see we have presented both sides’ competing claims about the explosion, clearly indicating who is making them, and what we do or don’t know.”

Bowen was asked specifically about his claim that the hospital was “flattened.”

“Oh, yeah. Well, I got that wrong because I was looking at the pictures and what I saw was a square that seemed to be on fire on all sides. And there was a gap in the middle. And I think it was a picture taken from a drone. And so, we have to interpret what we see. And I thought, well, it looks like the whole building is gone. And that was my inference from looking at the pictures. And I was wrong on that. But I don’t feel too bad about that,” Bowen said.

Our reporter has contacted the BBC for further comment.

BBC was also criticized for not calling Hamas terrorists after they attacked and killed Israeli civilians.

The outlet changed its policy and now calls Hamas terrorists after it met with the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

“The BBC confirmed it was committed to continued dialogue. It also confirmed it is no longer BBC practice to call Hamas militants. Instead, the BBC refers to the group as a proscribed terrorist organization by the UK government and others, or simply as Hamas,” a press release from the Board of Deputies of British Jews stated.

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