Saturday, February 04, 2012

bbc apologises for quiz answer saying ariel is a 'city in israel'

UPDATE: Abe Hayeem has now recomplained to the BBC, as he explains in this message of this afternoon, 4 Feb 2012:

Some of you felt that the BBC was not doing enough to remedy the error. Here
is the text of my re-complaint!

I would like to thank the Complaints staff and Exec Producer Gilly Hall for their prompt response and for their apology and other moves not to broadcast this programme on iPlayer, and registering it on the audience log etc.. I don't wish to sound carping, but since this was a factual error that has gone out to a wide audience, they will be left with the assumption that Ariel is a city in Israel which snugly fits in with the Israeli agenda. I do feel that more should be done in the public realm to correct this bloomer, since Only Connect is very strict on accuracy, as Victoria Coren always emphasises. This can surely be done, as is usual with her witty and off-beat manner and banter in the next programme whether recorded or not. It is the least and not too earth- shattering thing that the BBC can do do maintain its international reputation for fairness and balance. Saying such a thing publicly will only be stating the truth -and surely the BBC can withstand the possibility of a stream of phone calls from the Israeli Embassy and its supporters! To quote an example of decisive action taken, on, yes Ariel again, was when Ariel College architecture students were short-listed in a world competition, as representatives of Israel. Letters written to the Spanish Housing Ministry, pointing out that Ariel was an illegal settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories, prompted it to remove the Ariel students from the short list. It would be great to see the BBC take decisive action!

This was the message issued last night by Abe Hayeem, the architect and tireless activist for Palestine who founded Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine

I received this reply today from the BBC over the complaint that Ariel was said to be an Israeli city in a quiz line on the Connecting Wall programme.
Complaint Response CAS-1275414-F5VG12

Dear Mr Hayeem

Thank you for contacting us regarding ‘Only Connect', broadcast on 30 January on BBC Four. We understand you had concerns in relation to the accuracy of a question asked during the programme.We forwarded your correspondence to the Executive Producer, Gilly Hall, who responded as follows:“On a recent edition of 'Only Connect' on BBC Four, broadcast 30th January 2012 a question about cities in Israel displayed an incorrect answer. The BBC would like to apologise for this oversight. Once we became aware the online wall was taken down and the programme was removed from BBC iPlayer. We have also taken steps to ensure this version will not be repeated.”Finally, we're guided by our audience feedback, so we’d like to assure you that your complaint has been registered on our audience log. This is an internal report of audience feedback that we compile on a daily basis and it’s made available to programme commissioners, channel executives and senior management. The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content. Thanks once again for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

BBC Complaints


Anyone watching last night's popular BBC4 quiz programme, ONLY CONNECT with Victoria Coren may have noticed this. This was my complaint to the BBC.

In the first round of the Connecting Wall, which was solved by the team, there were four names in the last line: Acre, Ariel, Holon and Eilat. The answer given was that they were all in Israel. Yes, said Victoria Coren emphatically,"These are cities in Israel"!

This is a shocking display of ignorance and misrepresentation to the viewer by the usually erudite Coren (and the BBC quizmasters) - especially controversial, since the BBC is usually flooded with complaints about its sometimes biased and inaccurate reporting on the Israel/Palestine issue. Ariel is actually, not a city, but an illegal settlement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and the BBC should have known better. It's surprising that the highly knowledgeable participants did not comment on or spot this mistake.

It may sound trivial to raise this complaint about a quiz programme, but a popular one like Only Connect that prides itself on its accuracy, will be presenting misleading information to its viewers at a time when the whole sensitive issue of illegal settlement expansion is in the news.

When the 4 names were lined up, my wife and I watched aghast, knowing what was coming next, and it surely did! We think that a correction and apology should be made at the next Only Connect programme, which Victoria Coren can easily include in her witty banter before the quizzing starts.

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