BBC accepts CST did not give ‘verification’ of anti-Muslim slur for Chanukah bus report

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BBC accepts CST did not give ‘verification’ of anti-Muslim slur for Chanukah bus report

Broadcaster issues 'update and clarification' about its coverage of the incident in Oxford street

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Dozens of people attended Monday's protest outside BBC New Broadcasting House (Photo: Campaign Against Antisemitism)
Dozens of people attended Monday's protest outside BBC New Broadcasting House (Photo: Campaign Against Antisemitism)

The BBC has accepted that the Community Security Trust did not provide ‘verification of the existence’ of an anti-Muslim slur during their investigation into their reporting of the Chanukah bus incident on Oxford Street.

In an ‘update and clarification’ published on Thursday, the BBC’s editorial complaints unit (ECU) confirmed they did not wish to imply the CST had confirmed the existence of the comment.

The ECU’s clarification said: “The responsibility for such verification rests with the BBC journalists and managers responsible for the story.

Furthermore, the update stated that the CST “also request that the BBC make clear that they were not pro-actively releasing or initiating use of the video by the media and had acted during this incident as a conduit between the media and the students on the bus.”

It also stated that the ECU is aware that the BBC “had contact with other sources separate from the CST who were able to verify that the video represented the incident in question.”

The ECU also said: “The CST have asked the ECU to reflect that their concern during this exchange was not on confirming or disputing the claim, but on putting the case that, even if a slur had been uttered, there were insufficient grounds for the BBC to refer to it in reports of the incident; we are happy to accept the CST’s account of its position.

“We acknowledge that the BBC may well have arrived at a decision to include the claim irrespective of their engagement with the CST, though this is not a point which the ECU investigation had occasion to address.”

Last month the CST were left furious after the findings of an investigation into the BBC’s reporting of anti-Muslim slurs suggested the Corporation had heard them in the video footage of the incident.

In a statement, the organisation said: “CST completely rejects the claim in today’s BBC report that CST confirmed to the BBC on 2nd December that an anti-Muslim phrase had been spoken on the Chabad bus that was attacked on Oxford Street.

“The BBC’s claim is a completely misleading representation of the exchanges between the BBC and CST on that day. CST informed the BBC of this before today’s report was published but they have gone ahead anyway. Their behaviour is appalling and deeply damaging.”

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