Correspondent Jon Donnison’s tweet implied injured girl was from Gaza
Apologised for the error after it was picked up on by other Twitter users
PUBLISHED: 10:26, 21 November 2012 |
A BBC war reporter made a shocking blunder by tweeting a photograph of an injured child from Syria but indicating she was from Gaza.
Gaza correspondent Jon Donnison added ‘Heartbreaking’ to the front of a message he retweeted from a Palestinian ‘journalist and social activist’ named Hazem Balousha.
Balousha had posted a picture of a young girl lying on a hospital bed with bloodied clothes, along with the words ‘Pain in #Gaza’.
Donnison’s tweet went out to his 7,971 followers on the social networking site and he was soon hit with a barrage of outraged responses highlighting the mistake.
The website bbcwatch.org highlighted the error and wrote: ‘Up to now, it may have been possible to put down Jon Donnison’s frequently problematic reporting to a lack of knowledge and understanding of the region.
‘However, his decision to promote deliberate misinformation – either knowingly or as a result of a complete failure to check facts – indicates that he is not merely naive.
‘Donnison has rendered himself no longer fit for the purpose of accurate and impartial reporting from the Middle East in accordance with the BBC’s legal obligations.’
Donnison apologised for the gaffe, tweeting: ‘A photo I retweeted from another journo showing children injured was not in Gaza as I said but apparently from Syria. Apologies.’
A BBC News spokesperson said: ‘Jon Donnison retweeted the photograph in good faith. He issued a correction and apologised as soon as he learned that the picture was not from Gaza.’
This is the latest in a string of embarrassing incidents for the BBC, in which the most high-profile has been the Lord McAlpine Newsnight scandal.
But Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British understanding, replied to the apology by saying that it was also good to highlight the distress caused in Syria by the conflict.
Violence continued in the region with six men accused of being ‘Israeli spies’ dragged through the streets of Gaza City and executed before a chanting mob.
Witnesses said the six were taken to an intersection in the north of the city where they were summarily shot for providing intelligence that helped Israel pinpoint key figures in Hamas and the Islamic Jihad targeted by their warplanes.
The names of the men are said to have been scrawled on the road after they had been questioned by Hamas security officials about who provided the ‘human intelligence’ necessary to pinpoint targets for ‘precision’ attacks that have 118 Palestinians – half civilians, including women and children, dead – in seven days of military operations.