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The BBC coverage of Libya

August 25, 2011 — 8 Comments

The coverage by the British Broadcasting Company of Libya has been ignorant, lazy, orientalist and biased. Anyone looking for real information on what is happening in Libya, Syria or any other country has to turn to social media – blogs and twitter.

One of the main problems for mainstream journalists is that they see what they want to see and ignore what doesn’t fit into the narrative provided to them by their most trusted sources – the government officials and intelligence agencies of the western powers.

Stories which don’t fit the narrative are ignored or downplayed – for instance the RAF bombing of Zlitan, the lynchings of black people including at rebel HQ in Benghazi, the ethnic cleansing in Misrata and Tawergha.

The cumulative effect of looking the wrong way, pursuing a narrative at odds with reality, lazily repeating government spin (propaganda) is a profound ignorance of actual reality and this clip of BBC news anchors illusrates the point.

The two presenters are Eton-educated Bill Turnbull and Kate Silverton, both experienced and regular BBC news presenters.

Bill Turnbull says: “Let’s take you live to Tripoli. We want to show you some pictures there. This is people in Tripoli, in the centre. I think its Green Square, renamed Martry’s Square…”

Kate Silverton says: “Officially I suppose still Green Square, but renamed by those, but as you can see a mass, a huge throng of people now turning out.”

The magnificent duo fail to explain why the people of Tripoli are waving Indian flags.

Of course other channels have made similar mistakes – eg Fox and Sky showing people celebrating in Benghazi whilst claiming they are in Tripoli.

Update 26th August:

BBC and Al Jazeera have been showing terrified black men being rounded up on their news. As they have consistently avoided reporting on racist atrocities in Libya they can not provide any context to this and repeat rebel claims they are “mercenaries.” In other words the BBC is uncritically justifying a racist pogrom.