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Ofcom investigates BBC for reporting anti-Semitic attack | BBC

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Regulator Ofcom is investigating the BBC for reporting an anti-Semitic attack in London last year, after the broadcaster apologized but denied claims of ‘blaming the victim’.

Ofcom said it reviewed the broadcaster’s response to complaints about how it covered an incident in November 2021 when Jewish passengers on a bus were abused.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews criticized the accuracy and fairness of the coverage of the events depicted, in particular regarding the claim that an anti-Muslim slur was heard from inside the bus.

The BBC published the findings of the Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) on a complaint on Wednesday, concluding that there was ‘primary attention’ to those directing abuse against bus passengers and that there “was no evidence to support any victim blaming allegations in our reporting”.

Ofcom has announced that it will launch its own investigation. A spokesperson said they reviewed the BBC’s response, adding: “We consider this to raise issues under our accuracy rules and have launched an investigation.”

On 2 December 2021, the BBC published a story about the incident and BBC One aired a report on the story on its main newscast at 6.30pm.

Subsequently, the BBC received representations from individuals, including the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Chief Rabbi, criticizing the coverage. The chief executive has instructed the BBC’s ECU to urgently investigate the complaints.

He concluded that the inclusion of “an alleged insult” was made in “good faith, after careful editorial review”. He concluded, however, that more could have been done, “following the initial report, to acknowledge divergent views and opinions from what was said”.

The BBC apologized for “not having done more to point out that these details were disputed”. The broadcaster edited the story online and posted a clarification regarding the report.

Earlier in the month, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries questioned the BBC’s complaints process over its coverage of the story. In a letter to BBC director-general Tim Davie, seen by the Guardian, Dorries asked him to explain how the company responded to concerns from Jewish leaders about the company’s coverage of a November incident on Oxford Street and how he plans to “resolve the issue in a timely manner”.

Ofcom investigates BBC for reporting anti-Semitic attack | BBC

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