Saturday, 29 March 2003

BBC complains of Pentagon lies

The BBC has become so concerned at false and misleading information being put out on the war against Iraq that it has stressed to its journalists that they must clearly attribute military sources.

According to the Guardian, BBC news chiefs met to discuss the problem after the broadcaster carried several reports later shown to be inaccurate. The misleading reports were all favourable to the US/UK forces and so their exposure has undermined the BBC’s claims to be providing unbiased coverage.

On Sunday March 23, British military sources claimed to have taken the port of Umm Qasr in southern Iraq. Three days later, they were still fighting to quell resistance.

The BBC then ran headlines with reports of the discovering of a chemical weapons factory in An Najaf, which was later dropped.

On Tuesday, March 25, the British news was filled with reports of an uprising under way in Basra, Iraq’s second largest city. Claims of the “popular uprising” were first made by British military forces, but were later found to be untrue.

On Wednesday, March 26, the British military were cited reporting that “up to 120 tanks” were leaving Basra. The convoy was later found to be just three-strong.

Numerous other examples can be cited, including the continuous downplaying of the extent of popular opposition to the US/UK invasion and the particularly cynical claim that the Iraqi regime was responsible for the missile attack on a Baghdad market that killed 17 civilians.

A BBC spokeswoman confirmed that a meeting had been held to discuss recent events.

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