(photo credit: Reuters)
Credit where credit is due. BBC newscasts over recent weeks have differed distinctly in tone, content and balance from how the Gaza conflicts of 2008-9 and 2012 were covered. Not that dedicated subscribers to the monitoring website bbcwatch.org are likely to have noticed the change, for that website remains as assiduous as ever in reporting every deviation from its interpretation of what is “accurate and impartial” – the standard by which it measures BBC news reports. It is, of course, no bad thing that the BBC’s output is subject to intense scrutiny, though BBCwatch does, perhaps, tend towards overkill.The BBC is one of the largest and most influential broadcasting organizations in the world. As well as serving the whole of the United Kingdom, it enjoys a massive global reach, transmitting news and current events via TV and radio in over 30 languages to audiences measured in hundreds of millions.
Established in 1922 as the British Broadcasting Company, the nascent organization was stamped from the start by the high moral tone set by its first Director General, John Reith. From its earliest days Reith successfully established and maintained the independence of the BBC from political interference, and by 1939, when the UK went to war with Germany, the BBC’s reputation for accuracy, objectivity and impartiality was firmly established.