BBC reporters investigated for ‘Hamas sympathies’ and criticising Israel

Israel-Palestine conflict

Published 23 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Marie-Jose Al Azzi and Soha Ibrahim.

The journalism of the BBC has come under intense domestic criticism following allegations that two of its journalists ‘liked’ social media posts praising the bloody 7 October attacks by Hamas and other ‘anti-Israel’ content.

John Mann, the UK’s ‘independent adviser on anti-Semitism’, is now openly questioning the credibility of journalist Soha Ibrahim and demanding action from the BBC, while Tory MP Nicola Richards is calling for both journalists to be suspended during the investigation.

The BBC is under pressure to suspend journalists Soha Ibrahim and Marie-Jose Al Azzi after the former was accused of ‘liking’ social media posts allegedly celebrating the 7 October Hamas terror attack, including describing Hamas as ‘freedom fighters’ and Israel as ‘genocidal’, and the latter for describing Israel as a ‘terrorist apartheid state’ several years ago.

John Mann expressed his disappointment and stressed the importance of journalistic impartiality.

– Any journalist who likes anything that is overtly racist is clearly not credible, Mann said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

The state-owned BBC has repeatedly been in the spotlight for similar practices. A few weeks ago, The Nordic Times reported on a BBC employee who was questioned by the corporation’s values police over “transcritical” online posts.

Nicola Richards, Tory MP and representative of Conservative Friends of Israel, raises similar concerns and calls for the reporters involved to be suspended during the investigation. She stresses the BBC’s global responsibility to provide “impartial news” and calls for “zero tolerance of bias within the media organisation”.

BBC: “We are objective”

Soha Ibrahim, who has worked for the BBC for over a decade, and her colleague have yet to comment on the allegations. Soha’s previous reporting includes an article on alleged abuses by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian doctors at Nasser Hospital in Gaza, an incident that led to an international wave of condemnation against Israel and prompted an official investigation by the UK Foreign Office.

BBC management have said they will investigate the reporters for any breaches of their social media guidelines. They also said they remained committed to ‘objective’ journalism.

– We stand by our journalism. We have provided multiple first-hand accounts, named independent sources, shared visual evidence, and included rights of reply throughout, working to the highest standards of journalism, said a BBC spokesperson.

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