Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The BBC Breaches Its Charter

BBC shahadaOn Monday night the BBC aired a “documentary” about Geert Wilders entitled “Geert Wilders: Europe’s Most Dangerous Man?” We didn’t cover it here, because it is an English-language version of “Wilders: The Movie”, which we reported on extensively last fall.

The two filmmakers behind this extravaganza, Joost van der Valk and Mags Gavan, are in charge of Red Rebel Films, a Dutch outfit that specializes in left-wing hit jobs, and is partially funded by the Dutch government via various quasi-state intermediaries. We ran excerpts from an exposé of Red Rebel Films last spring.

The release of Dutch version of the movie happened to coincide with the beginning of Geert Wilders’ first trial. The Beeb’s version appeared at the beginning of Mr. Wilders’ latest trial.

A coincidence? Or a well-coordinated joint effort?

You decide.

A British reader named RezaV believes the BBC has breached its charter by broadcasting such biased propaganda, and wrote this letter to the organization to complain:

I was shocked by the dishonesty, one-sidedness and far-left political bias of your programme: Geert Wilders: Europe’s Most Dangerous Man? BBC Two, 7:00PM Mon, 14 Feb 2011

Though unqualified third-party accusations, conspiracy theory and without any evidence whatsoever you insinuated at various points throughout the programme that Mr Wilders was:

1. “Far Right”
2. A Fascist
3. A Nazi
4. An Zionist extremist
5. An Israeli Spy
6. A conspiracy theorist
7. A convicted criminal (for example, referring to him being “in the dock”)
8. Guilty of “hate-speech”
9. Mentally unbalanced
10. A control freak
11. Dubiously funded / dishonest / with something to hide
12. Europe’s most dangerous man

Your program made regular use of sinister background music to drive home your intended message.

Ironically, most of the above accusations are very real “conspiracy theories” about Mr Wilders promoted by Neo Nazi organisations such as Stormfront and various anti-Semitic Islamist organisations such as MPAC UK.

Mr Wilders is an elected member of the Dutch parliament. His party is the second biggest party in the Netherlands and many of his policies have huge support that extends far beyond his voters among the Dutch people. His party is also a key supporter of the ruling coalition government of the Netherlands. Your programme either played down or omitted completely these very relevant facts.

Furthermore, you did not give Mr Wilders nor a well-known or credible supporter of his a right to reply to your many unfounded accusations and insinuations. Neither did you include any of the many well-known, respected and reputable figures who might otherwise have been available to provide some balance to your programme. For example, you could have interviewed Douglas Murray, Director of the Centre for Cohesion or even the regular BBC contributor and author of “Britanistan” Melanie Philips.

The only well-known figure that supported Mr Wilders (or opposed your programme’s viewpoint) that you interviewed was Daniel Pipes. Mr Pipes is a respected and reputable academic and author. He is the director of the Middle East Forum and has served in various capacities in the U.S. government, including two presidentially-appointed positions, vice chairman of the Fulbright Board of Foreign Scholarships and board member of the U.S. Institute of Peace. He was director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in 1986-93.

You made no mention of any of this, preferring to present Mr Pipes as a sinister and secretive ‘foreign’ financial donor from a shady American far-right organisation.

You did however include a number of figures to speak against Mr Wilders. You were similarly disingenuous and dishonest about these:

1. Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra

Your programme made no mention that he is a prominent member of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), a controversial organisation. In March 2009, the last government severed all ties with the MCB in response to its deputy general secretary, Dr Daud Abdullah, signing the Istanbul declaration, a public declaration of support for Hamas and call for violence against the British Royal Navy and Jewish communities.

2. Shaykh Khalid Yasin

You introduced this person as a “Popular Islamic Teacher” and deferred to him at various points throughout your programme.

Yasin was featured in Channel 4’s Undercover Mosque exposé. In the DVD “Changing the World Through Da’wah” (IBC Ltd/1Islam Productions) he preaches to the camera:

“We don’t need to go to the Christians or the Jews debating with them about the filth which they believe. We Muslims have been ordered to do brainwashing because the kuffaar they are doing brain defiling. You are watching the kaffir TV and your wife is watching it right now and your children are watching it and they are being polluted and they are being penetrated and they are being infected, so that you come out of the house and your children come out of the house as Muslims and come back as kaffirs.”

As a first-generation immigrant from the Middle East and someone of Muslim heritage, I find the term “kufffar” to be highly offensive and know that it is used by some Muslims as a hate-term in exactly the same way that a ‘white’ fascist would use “nigger” or “paki” to describe black people and those from the Middle East or the Indian sub-continent.

Again regarding Yasin:

“In one DVD, Yasin, who is promoted on the mosque’s website, accuses missionaries from the World Health Organisation and Christian groups of putting the ‘Aids virus’ in the medicine of African people, ‘which is a conspiracy’.”

More from Yasin:

Sheikh Khalid Yasin, who learned Arabic in Saudi Arabia, praised the deterrent effect of sharia law: “Then people can see, people without hands, people can see in public heads rolling down the street, people got [sic] their hands and feet from opposite sides chopped off and they see them crucified…they see people put up against the pole and see them get lashed in public they see it, and because they see it, it acts as a deterrent for them because they say I don’t want that to happen to me.”

3. Martin Smith

Throughout your programme you were careful to refer to Geert Wilders, his views and his supporters as “far right” at every opportunity. However, you introduced a counter-demonstration against the EDL in Amsterdam as representing “the left”. Not “the far left”. You did this despite going on to show, at length, a speech by Martin Smith of “Unite Against Fascism”. You chose not to mention that Mr Smith is also National Secretary of the Socialist Workers Party, an extremist far-left group with a well-documented track record of support for extreme Islamist organisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

BBC Director General Mark Thompson has admitted that the BBC was guilty of a ‘massive’ Left-wing bias in the past. I understand that Mr Thompson now claims that is no longer any trace of left-wing bias at the BBC.

Your decision to screen ‘Geert Wilders: Europe’s Most Dangerous Man?’ clearly discredits that claim.

Of course Geert Wilders is a controversial figure, and the BBC would be right to investigate the rise of his movement as well as the rise of anti-Islam and anti-immigration views and political parties in Europe.

However, it is thoroughly wrong to address the subject in the partisan, biased and thoroughly dishonest way that your programme did. It is also very wrong to give a platform to far-left and Islamic extremists whilst blatantly and disingenuously presenting them as the voices of reason.

Angela Merkel, Nicholas Sarkozy and Davis Cameron have all made widely reported speeches criticising the ideology of multiculturalism and all have specifically singled out non-violent Muslim extremism and the failure of may European Muslims to integrate as creating problems within their countries. Geert Wilders espouses these views too. However, you didn’t mention this highly relevant context at all in your one-sided programme.

Your programme came across as blatant political propaganda and a concerted effort to smear an individual with whose political views you disagree. What’s more, your programme gave a platform to far left and Islamic extremists such as Martin Smith and Shaykh Khalid Yasin, both of whom have a very clear and extreme political agenda that is a matter of public record.

In summary, your programme:

  • Was selective with facts in order to distort the truth;
  • Repeatedly presented ‘conspiracy theory’ as fact;
  • Presented third party accusations, unsupported by evidence, as fact;
  • Gave a platform to political and religious extremists without informing the viewer of the organisations and viewpoints that the commentators represented;
  • Did not show Mr Wilders or a credible supporter of his responding to your numerous accusations;
  • Presented no credible commentators to balance the programme’s far-left slant;
  • Used sinister music and contrived filming techniques to denigrate an elected member of a fellow EU country’s parliament;
  • Was one-sided and biased to the extent that it simply resembled political propaganda or a politically motivated smear-campaign.

I believe that the programme was in breach of the BBC charter, broke your impartiality rules and as such I would appreciate your comments.

15 comments:

a said...

Hey Baron,

Long time reader here, first time poster. Can I request that you publish the response to this letter if one is given? Also, keep up the good work.

Baron Bodissey said...

Aleph (to use your full formal name ;) --

Yes, of course. If RezaV sends me a response, I'll definitely post a follow-up.

Peter said...

I have atcually met Jaast and Mags Gavan. They apparantaly seemed to think that i was racist. Also, I did note that at the army barracks that we were at, Mags Gavan took a LOT of calls from different people which I felt was rude and against camp rules! They also said they felt i should make a documentary about myself and my life?? which was a bizarre thing to say!

brianstewey said...

Thanks Baron!
Good to get a response, this is also a test to see if I have figured out the name thing correctly.

Jen said...

This analysis by RezaV is excellent. It will be hard for the BBC to squirm out of these accusations. She should take her complaint further than the BBC. They will be slow to respond and will try and obfuscate with bafflegab.

The media holds such power that it must be held to meticulous account.

imnokuffar said...

Probably one of the best things I have ever read on this forum.

Let us see how the slimeballs respond, or even if they respond at all.

Brilliant.

Robert said...

Way to go Reza! You should try to get this published as an editorial in one of the daily newspapers in London, maybe the Guardian, hahahahaha!!!!

Reza said...

Thanks everyone. I'll certainly forward a response when I get it.

Couple of point's:

1. Melanie Philips is the author of "Londonistan" not "Britanistan" as I mistakingly put in my letter.
2. Jen, I'm actually a "he" int a "she".

afortiori said...

This was an extremely well written and comprehensive complaint to the BBC. They will probably ignore it unless you can get more weight behind you. As another person suggested, I would try to get it in a newspaper, or at alert the various Telegraph bloggers such as Ed West:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/

Take it to the Trust. Alert video blogger Pat Condell.

Every mention of Islam on the BBC is fawning and the cult is always given a whitewash. The BBC is transparently biased. Many insiders admitting this now too, e.g. Peter Sissons: http://bit.ly/foLPYB

This disgraceful left wing propaganda machine misrepresents th country and has to be stopped.

Reza said...

Here's an alternative approach for attacking the programme that is very likely to have some BBC staff sitting up to take notice:

“...The programme features a notorious anti-Semitist Sheikh Kalid Yasin, who’s deeply offensive comments have been widely reported and well documented.

In the programme, Yasin makes some outrageous and unsubstantiated allegations claiming that “Jews” are behind the far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders. Yasin says on the programme:

“I think that he [Wilders] has taken and embraced the idea of modern Zionism. And he is using the platform of modern Zionism to espouse the same concepts about Muslims in the world and the Koran, that the Jews cannot afford to say in Israel.”

[The camera then cuts to the Israeli flag before Yasin continues]

“But Mr Wilders can do them a favour. He can go outside of Israel with those same feelings and he can characterise the way that the Zionists characterise the Palestinians to legitimise their power. Mr Wilders can characterise Islam in the same way. This is what is taking place.”

Spread the word. Whatever it takes. The BBC went too far this time. Together, we can achieve something. Just fill out the complaint forms:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/

Olga said...

STOP PRESS!

The programme is due to be repeated on BBC Two on 20th February.

If enough people write to complain then perhaps we can stop it being shown!

Complain here:
www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/

WAKE UP said...

It's all just further evidence of how desperate the BBC (like all "mainstream" media) is becoming, now that its partisanship has been revealed.

Interesting question: if the MSM continue to do this kind of thing (and that could include repeating that particular programme on Gweert Wilders), how long might such a continuation actually start to provoke even more negative reaction, as more and more people start to see through it?

The MSM's problem is that, long ago and agenda-driven, it decided to become a "player" in world affairs, not just a reporter/interviwer/documentarian. As a result, it is now stuck with a vested-interest role, which it has no choice but to defend in more and more extreme ways - just like any political party has to do when the tide turns.

In other words (getting back to the BBC)the BBC is now no more than winning or losing party to current affairs - and right now, it's a LOSER, with shrinking credibility, whose "view" can be adopted or ignored. (Who would have thought that one day, someone could write that phrase of the BBC?)

The once-mighty BBC (and the other MSM) has made of iself a minor player in a very bad political scenario. Little by little, more and more people are discovering that the TRUTH lies elsewhere.

brianstewey said...

I have also lodged a complaint using the link supplied by Reza. If I get a reply I will contact Mr Bodissey with all parts. I also contacted the Daily Mail.

afortiori said...

Please note you need to go through the https prefix to access the BBC compaints page:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/forms/

Reza, I would suggest you may be on stronger ground (you will confuse their political correctness a little) by your inclusion of this line:

"As a first-generation immigrant from the Middle East and someone of Muslim heritage"

Though of course it should not matter who is submitting the complaint. I suggest others submit your same letter, simply removing this line and saying the case was put well by you (also correcting "Britainistan" to "Londonistan"). You can request a response on the site.

The is also the website Pledgebank with can attract signatures for such causes.

In my view the BBC is so shamefully one-sided now it doesn't really count as a reliable news organisation. After all there was not even the slightest mention of the trail of Geert Wilders (a Dutch MP after all!) or, of course, of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. Like or or not (and I'm sure the BBC don't like it) these were important and highly newsworthy trials.

FrancisChalk said...

The BBC stands for Big Bunch of Crap. It's sole purpose is the advancement of worldwide Marxism. Can there be any other explanation for their behavior?