Thousands turn out to protest against the broadcaster’s coverage on Palestine-Israel conflict 

UNITED: Over 5,000 people protested outside BBC 2&3 Manchester offices over discontent on “biased reporting” (Picture credit: Raja Nasar Mahmood)
UNITED: Over 5,000 people protested outside BBC  Manchester offices over “biased” reporting” (Picture credit: Raja Nasar Mahmood)

Thousands of people travelled and joined others across London, Newcastle, Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool last weekend, to demonstrate their utter outrage and dissatisfaction with BBC’s “reporting bias” towards Israel on the Gaza coverage since airstrikes began.

More than 5,000 people partook in the ‘Drive4Justice’ demonstrations at Media City in Manchester on Saturday 12th July. Other BBC offices throughout the country also saw campaigners in their hundreds gather outside to voice their objections.

Organisers of the Manchester Media City demonstration, Blackburn-based Youth on a Mission, say that the BBC has a duty and obligation to its licence-fee-payers on fair reporting as a public service broadcaster.

Youth on a Mission state that the BBC have maintained a pro-Israeli bias on the manner in which it has publicised the conflict and therefore skewed public views into believing that it’s the Palestinian’s who have triggered the attacks.

‘Media bias’

Since Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza began, on July 8th, social media has been ablaze with graphic videos and images of innocent Palestinian civilians including children and babies being injured or killed. It’s been after these clips became viral, predominantly through Facebook, that activists for ‘Drive4Justice’ have felt obligated to stage their discontent with BBC.

Gaza has no army, air force, or navy, while Israel possess one of the strongest militaries and state-of-the art combat tech in the world. Hamas, an organisation with a military wing, is it’s only defence and that too with small arms and often home-made offensives.

25-year-old Adnan Hussain of ‘Youth on a Mission’ says that news coverage was “devoid of context or background” about the previous Israeli occupation of Gaza.

Adnan commented: “The least one would expect from BBC is to remain impartial.

“The BBC, and other news networks such as Fox and Sky, have all reported in similar tones as the BBC.

“It’s ‘number of dead Palestinians’ vs ‘number of Israelis killed – there’s a very manipulative reason why mainstream media chooses those particular words to report on fatalities.

“Not only that, when talking about the two conflicting sides, media relays it as ‘Israeli Army’ vs ‘Gaza militants’.  The Palestinians have been labelled as the aggressive party!

“We have to get the facts right here – the Israeli government has relentlessly been stealing land from the Palestinians. Let’s not forget that only a few decades ago there was no “Israel” – it was all Palestine.

“How often has that been clarified by the media?”

 Social media

The Gaza Crisis and the atrocities that the Palestinians have been subjugated to is not something new, with unrest in the region happening for decades. So the question is “Why now? What has triggered so many people into stepping forward eager to stage the protests?”

‘Youth on a Mission’ says: “The objective of ‘Drive4Justice’ is to deliver the message to our government and organisations such as the BBC, that we can gain the support of the people and that we can unveil the truths.

Via Facebook Adnan roped in the support of Bradford-based mother-of-two, Naz Shah, just two days prior to the BBC Manchester rally.

Mother-of-two Naz Shah organised the convoy from Bradford to Manchester
Mother-of-two Naz Shah organised the convoy from Bradford to Manchester

Naz says: “It’s all down to social media. Social media is something that we all, including our younger generation taps into, and this is how we relayed the message of the rally and it snowballed from there.

“For me, it was watching video clips of innocent children’s bodies ripped apart because of missile attacks on their homes. I have two young children myself – anyone who cannot be moved after witnessing the utter despair that the Palestinians are going through, just isn’t human.

Other protests

Other demonstrations and vigils in the country have called upon Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, to intervene in bringing an end to the “the brutal intensification of violence upon the Palestinians” at hands of the Israelis.

Locally, over 3000 people gathered on Sunday 13th July at Bradford Centenary Square.

The organiser of the Bradford rally, who wishes to stay out of the limelight, says that he feels that the government needs to be made aware that people are no longer ignorant of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

He said: “Okay, we might not be able to stop a war by such protests, but we sure can get a message loud and clear out to the people to push their local MP’s into addressing the issue with the government.

Other faith groups including Rabbi's condemn the violence in Gaza
Other faith groups including Rabbi’s condemn the violence in Gaza

 “The BBC, and other news networks such as Fox and Sky, have all reported in similar tones as the BBC”

“We saw Rabbi’s step forward and condemn the actions of the Israeli government. We saw other faith groups turn up and stand for humanity. We saw our local councillor’s come out and pledge their support.

“We’re fortunate to be born in the western world, the least we can do is fight for humanity and stand up for those people who are suffering at the hands of blatant injustice in other countries.”

London Downing Street

Protests continue across Britain in disapprobation to Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza.

A major rally, which saw over 100,000 people, took place in London and outside the Israeli Embassy and Number 10 Downing Street on Saturday 19th July 19th July.

Although some areas were cordoned off, swarms of people continued to show their support in a peaceful manner.

With the death toll of Palestinians standing at around 300 people, including some 80 children and over 1900 people injured, getting immediate international medical aid to the region is proving difficult. UN estimated that over 77 per cent of those killed were innocent civilians.

Adnan says: “I feel that our governments stance on what’s happened over the past nine days is disappointing to say the least.

“We want to make clear that as a nation we are disgusted that no political intervention has taken place from Britain and that we call upon a review of our foreign policies.”


History in brief

Palestine-Israel conflict – what is it all about?

  • Just over 100 years ago Zionism didn’t exist nor did the state of Israel
  • 1917-1920s   Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community approached the British government asking for land to set up a Jewish homeland. The British agreed, with it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which would prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish people. The Balfour Declaration allowing for the Jewish people to make homes in Palestine was therefore signed. 
  • After WWII   Israel declared itself as a state 1948. Palestinians have been removed since that time and therefore they’ve been fighting back ever since
  • 1967   War broke out due to the bulldozing of Palestinian houses, business etc., for the establishing of Jewish-only settlements
  • Apartheid: Due to international laws it’s illegal to settle on occupied territory – this then makes Israelis  the illegal occupying forces