16th May 2001
In an alarming development, the BBC has caved in to pressure from pro-Israeli MPs and has decided to highlight the religious affiliation of Muslim journalists who broadcast news reports.
In a letter from the BBC Radio 4 flagship programme, The World Tonight, BBC officials said that the journalist Faisal Bodi’s alleged position as “an avowed supporter of Islamic causes” “should have been made clear” in the introduction to his news report of April 17th 2001.
“This perceived policy of religious discrimination against Muslim journalists is odious and absolutely unacceptable and must be withdrawn immediately,” said Mr Yousuf Bhailok, Secretary-General of the MCB.
“It is a perverse decision. The BBC has accepted that Mr Bodi’s report was ‘factual, fair and balanced’, yet they are insisting – in the wake of pro-Israeli protests – that Mr Bodi’s alleged political and religious affiliation should be broadcast as well. The BBC certainly does not do this for the many Jewish journalists that work for them – so why for a Muslim journalist?” added Mr Bhailok.
The MCB calls on the BBC to renounce this policy of religious discrimination and uphold its commitment to fair and balanced news reporting which is now under threat because of the vociferous protests of many pro-Israeli MPs and Jewish organisations.