UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

BBC suspends videos about Israel and Palestine following accusation of indoctrination

The BBC has suspended a series of “Bitesize” videos about Israel and Palestine from its website.  These videos formed part of BBC Education’s content, aimed at schoolchildren, and designed to be used in schools.  This follows a complaint by UK Lawyers for Israel, which described the videos as unbalanced and partisan, as demonstrated by the analyses of the NGO CAMERA UK.

UKLFI argued that by providing these videos for use in schools, the BBC was encouraging illegal conduct contrary to section 406 of the Education Act 1996, which forbids political indoctrination at maintained schools, and section 407, which requires maintained schools to take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that pupils at maintained schools are offered a balanced presentation of opposing views.

Helen Foulkes, Head of BBC Education, responded to UKLFI’s complaint saying: “These films form part of Bitesize’s legacy content, which was migrated to the current site several years ago. They are part of a range of content which we have begun to review to ensure that it remains compliant with the most recent BBC Editorial Guidelines. The series will be suspended from the site whilst this editorial review is carried out. Once the review has been completed, we will decide which content to retire permanently and which to reinstate and / or edit.”

Jonathan Turner, chief executive of UKLFI commented: “We asked the BBC to investigate this matter and remedy it in an appropriate way, to promote a balanced presentation of this controversial subject, and we hope that the BBC is now doing so.”