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BBC News apologises for misleading reports on Iran

The BBC internal complaints department today apologised for describing Iran as having "abducted" the 15 British sailors and marines in a news report on the 25th March. It also apologised for repeatedly referring to the British service personnel as "hostages" in news reports.
The apology, in response to complaints from the international campaign group, CASMII, failed however to offer a full explanation on how the misleading reporting was allowed to be aired or what steps are being taken to ensure that biased reporting of this kind cannot happen again. In a letter from the BBC information department on 3rd May, Katherine Tsang, attempted to justify the use of the word "abducted" by claiming "At the time, it was the very early stage of the story and information was still coming in and journalists need to provide the public with the information that they have at the time. Of course as the story developed then facts became clearer."
Professor Abbas Edalat of CASMII said today

"We do not accept that because a story is at an "early stage" misleading reports are therefore acceptable. The BBC has a code of practice and is very aware of the power of language. Using the word "abducted" instead of "captured" and the word "hostages" instead of "detainees" is a clear example of linguistic manipulation of the facts and there are no excuses for it. We demand a full and unqualified apology from the BBC and an open investigation as to how these reports were allowed to be broadcast".

The complaints have now been referred back to the BBC Complaints Department and letters have been written to BBC Head of News, Mr Richard Porter and Mark Thompson Director-General of the BBC.
Other alleged instances of anti-Iranian bias on the BBC News are also currently under investigation including a report on 25th February 2007, in which news anchor Emily Maitlas described President Amadinejad's "no breaks" statement of his determination to continue with a civilian nuclear enrichment programme as his "latest defiance of the West" and "just the latest example of Iran ratcheting up the tension". Whilst Maitlas was talking, the report showed archive images of missiles being shot into the sky.

... Payvand News - 5/3/07 ...

... Payvand News - 5/3/07 ... --

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