Media Monitoring alert: CBBC Newsround website ‘Middle East’ feature

Islamic Human Rights Commission

19th March 2004

Media Monitoring alert: CBBC Newsround website ‘Middle East’ feature

1. Background
2. Suggested Action and Talking Points

1. Background

The CBBC (Children’s BBC) newsprogramme ‘Newsround’ has added a feature on the Middle East for its viewers on to its website. It can be viewed on the page below:

The feature is a biased and prejudiced portrayal of Middle Eastern issues and IHRC is deeply concerned that such a sub-standard piece of journalism had been produced and put forward on a children’s news site.

2. Suggested Action and Talking Points

(a) Please complain to the Newsround Web team by using the contact form on:

or better still write to them at:

The Web Team
CBBC Newsround
Room 1469
BBC White City
201 Wood Lane
W12 7TS

(b) Please also copy this or send a separate complaint to Malcolm Balen, the BBC’s so-called ‘Middle East’ watchdog for news:

or write to him at:

Broadcasting House

Some talking points:

1. This feature is contains ideological aspects as well as prejudice and bias in favour of one party over another.

2. The feature begins by wrong portraying the conflict as a religious one by stating:

“The troubles in the Middle East are mainly between the Jewish Israelis and the Arab Muslims.” This is incorrect as many Palestinians are in fact Christian, many profess to be secular and fighting under the banner of other ideologies, and many Jews support the Palestinian cause. The issue of Israeli racism is never mentioned in this feature.

3. It characterise the conflict as “a dispute over land and borders.” This suggests that parties in this matter are struggling from an equal situation when in fact one party, according to the United Nations is in fact illegally occupying the land of another. Infact nowhere is the phrase ‘illegal occupation’ which is a matter of fact, used.

4. The issue of the right of return for the over 5 million Palestinian refugees is never mentioned as an issue. Indeed the only reference to refugees misleadingly suggests that both Arabs and Israelis were, in the aftermath of the 1948 war, equally displaced and totalled a million between the two sides. This is an outrageous misrepresentation .

5. No mention is given to the violence of the Israeli Defence Force and its various security services, or indeed other facets of Israeli violence e.g. the acts and aggression of armed Israeli settlers or the fact that Israel is the only country in the world to have legalized torture. Instead there are frequent references to Palestinian suicide bombers and the intifadas as acts of aggression by Palestinians against Israeli ;control’ rather than Israeli racism, violence and illegal occupation. Indeed the second itifada has been simplistically cited as the ‘reason for the suicide bombers we see so often.’

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\”And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.\”

Holy Qur\’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
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