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The BBC was forced to remove a picture with Palestinian flags it used to report on horrific sex offences in the UK region of the West Midland [Miqdaad/Twitter]

Thu 06 Apr 2023:

The BBC has come under fire for using a photograph which included images of Palestinian flags in a story about one of the worst cases of child sex abuse in Britain. Twenty-one people were convicted yesterday of serious sexual offences against children in Walsall, after the largest child sexual abuse investigation ever conducted by West Midlands police.

The crimes by a “network of child abusers” took place in Walsall and Wolverhampton against seven victims, who were aged 12 and younger, over a period of nearly a decade. The BBC article described shocking details of sexual abuse. The offences against the children were “some of the most shocking abuse that I’ve seen in my career,” Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Drover is reported as saying by the BBC.

All of those convicted are white Britons, yet the BBC illustrated the article with a headline image of the outside of the court building with Palestinian flags waving, presumably — the photograph was cropped — in the hands of demonstrators connected with an earlier and completely different trial.

Social media users slammed the corporation and asked to be told how a story about sex abuse carried out by a gang of white Britons led with an image containing the Palestinian flag.

“Does the BBC care to explain how an article about white English paedophiles has an image of Palestine flags?” asked one user in disbelief. “It’s almost as if they’re not even trying to hide the fact they’re a propaganda machine. Who are they serving?”

With the widely held perception that the BBC has a history of pro-Israel bias, it was accused of smearing Palestinians and feeding into racist stereotypes about Muslims. After outrage erupted over the broadcaster’s fuelling of racist stereotypes, the BBC changed the header. However, it did not issue a correction or explanation.

The convictions of the all-white gang of 21 came after Home Secretary Suella Braverman said that “almost all” members of grooming gangs were British Pakistani men who held attitudes incompatible with British values. Responding to the Walsall case in light of her comments, Craig Guildford, the Chief Constable of West Midlands police, said: “It is important to remain open-minded about who can commit these offences. They know no social or religious boundaries and it is important to remind the public and professionals to report their concerns to the police, regardless.”

The BBC has also come under fire for its coverage of the brutal assault of Muslim worshippers by Israeli occupation soldiers. The raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem this week, which was captured on video and included images of Israeli soldiers beating worshippers with batons, was described by the BBC as “clashes”.

“Why do the BBC continually call these things ‘clashes’ ???” asked one person on social media. “If Reuters can call it an attack then why can’t you? Get off your knees and do your job BBC.”





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