Sunday, 27 December 2009

BBC: Tim Franks Justifying Operation Cast Lead

Hi Tim,

Hope you're ok. I've just read your article
I find it extremely unbalanced. I'll explain why. Here is your article cut right down.

  • Story of Israeli woman of with head injuries from Palestinian rocket. (Occurred before Israeli offensive)

  • Offensive, drawing on Israeli ministers and Army, due to rockets since 2002.

  • Palestinian man with injuries from the Israeli offensive.

  • Justified attack with reduced numbers of rockets fired post offensive.
Attack Justified

You have neatly justified the Israeli attack last year and I'll guess that anyone reading this article might not notice where in time you started from for each side, (2002 - Israel, 2008 - Gaza), and will no doubt draw the conclusion that Gaza had it coming.

Gazans fire rockets towards Israel because that's what they do

There is no mention of the crippling blockade, the ongoing killing, arrests and the persecution of the people in the open-air prison that is Gaza. There is no mention from any Gazan official. A mention of the aid-convoy sitting at Egypt's border wouldn't have gone amiss.

If it was your intention to just write about the human suffering then you've failed miserably.

I hope you find time to balance your article.


Update - Reply from BBC's Tim Franks

From: Tim Franks
Sent: Sunday, December 27, 2009 3:29 PM
Subject: RE: Slow recovery from wounds of Gaza conflict


I'm sorry you were dissatisfied with the piece. It was an attempt to give, in a little more detail than is usual, the stories of two people who have been caught up in the conflict. It was in no way meant to be an all-encompassing guide to the war or the continuing problems. That has been covered, extensively, in the rest of our output, on the internet, radio and TV.


Further email to Tim Franks

Thanks Tim for your reply. It is much appreciated.

If you wanted to pick two people out, one from Gaza and one from Israel and tell their stories, that would be fine despite the fact that Palestinian casualties are many times higher than Israeli. But you go someway to explain Israel's stance in this piece and not Gaza's leaving the reader to think Israel did nothing to provoke the rocket attacks and therefore misleading them. I'm not wanting an "all-encompassing guide" just balance.

Will you address this imbalance please?


To BBC Complaints

Dear BBC,

I read your article about people caught up in the conflict [Cast Lead] and I
find that it is unbalanced and misleading.

Break down:
10,000+ rockets from Gaza, Israel officials say,
Story: Israeli woman Injured before Cast Lead,
Note on why Cast Lead was launched, Israeli officials again,
Story: Palestinian man injured during Cast Lead,
Fewer rockets launched post Cast Lead, Israeli army,

Now I do realise this isn't supposed to be an all-encompassing guide to the
conflict or indeed the wider conflict. It is supposed to be about two people
trying to heal and get on with their lives. But you go someway to explain
Israel's stance in this piece and not Gaza's leaving the reader to think
Israel did nothing to provoke the rocket attacks and therefore misleading

You should either leave anything of a political nature out or balance the
article with why some in Gaza feel "Forced" to fire rockets toward Israel.
eg/ crippling blockade.

The other point I'd like to make is about the Israeli woman you chose. She
was hurt prior to Cast Lead. She was not hurt in "the Gaza Conflict". She
was hurt in the wider ongoing conflict. Her testimony serves Israel's
reasons for their offensive whereas the Palestinian man's doesn't. I mean, why didn't you pick a Palestinian who had been injured which "Forced" someone to fire rockets into Israel?

The underlying tone of this piece echoes the Israeli line while leaving out
the Palestinian point of view. Please balance this article. I'd like a

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