web-based news coverage comparison BBC – ISM

The BBC thoroughly covers the current Palestinian situation. in its ‘Middle East’ Sections of their News page. The article referenced below, called “Life in the Gaza Strip” seems to outline the BBC’s representation on the current situation. it describes the economy, and living conditions of individuals in Gaza, as well as literacy rates, which are mentioned to be around 93% for women, 98% for men. these figures are astoundingly high, even in comparison to the UK’s 99% for both men and women.

“There are colleges and universities in Gaza, there are about five or six, but it’s so limited because there are so many graduates without jobs so the market is over-saturated.”

this is a quote from the article, which explains the unemployment rate.

“After eight days of conflict between Israel and the Hamas movement in Gaza in which five Israelis and over 150 Palestinians died, a ceasefire is taking hold and some semblance of normal life is returning.”

above, is the only statement in the article, titles ‘Life in the Gaza Strip’ that mentions Palestinian and Israeli lives being taken in conflict.

A lot of the article seems to simply outline the state, and gives positive quotations, to remove some of the negative light on the current situation. A quote from a palestinian in the article states:

‘Despite this, he says his family can afford their basic needs.

“We are very happy when everything is safe and we are living a normal life…I had the opportunity to move abroad a long time ago but every time I come back, because this is where I belong,” he said.’

BBC News – Life in the Gaza Strip. 2013. BBC News – Life in the Gaza Strip. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20415675. [Accessed 06 December 2013].


These are a few headlines, from the REPORTS section of the International Solidarity Movement Website.

Three people detained and several people injured during demonstration in Nabi Saleh

Harassment and arrest in Khan al Luban

Daily brutality towards Palestinians in occupied Al-Khalil

Demonstration against Israeli forces as invasions and arrests increase in Azzoun

Reports | International Solidarity Movement. 2013. Reports | International Solidarity Movement. [ONLINE] Available at:http://palsolidarity.org/category/reports/. [Accessed 12 December 2013]

Amongst other headlines, these represent an entirely different story, in comparison with the BBC. although the BBC website mentions some negative aspect of the current situation, the ISM website seems to have an completely different take on the situation.

obviously one of the goals of the ISM is to raise money for their operations in Gaza and the West bank, so a slight exaggeration can be predicted in their website.

another huge difference between the two news pages is the visual content.

below are images from each web page.


Shoes for sale at a makeshift street market


Many children attend schools run by the UN

The two captioned images above, are from the BBC website. They both show progress in Palestine. the first is a shoe market, which is in the economy section of the website, and the second shows a class of girls, being educated in a UN run school.



the above two photographs are from the reports page of the ISM website. the top is showing a blindfolded man being arrested, and the one below shows an israeli soldier watching Palestinians being tear gassed. now the level of brutality shown in the photographs, varies massively, from the BBC to the ISM.

The BBC’s remit states they must inform and educate. they cannot lie about their content, and so we assume their facts online, are truthful. however, the BBC is not required show an absolute picture. they can very well avoid certain topics, which they deem irrelevant, or unnecessary. therefor, if they choose to avoid writing or presenting about a massively violent state, like the ISM suggests Palestine is, then they are not breaking the laws of their remit.

“Who We Are

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the long-entrenched and systematic oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian population, using non-violent, direct-action methods and principles.  Founded in August 2001, ISM aims to support and strengthen the Palestinian popular resistance by being immediately alongside Palestinians in olive groves, on school runs, at demonstrations, within villages being attacked, by houses being demolished or where Palestinians are subject to consistent harassment or attacks from soldiers and settlers as well as numerous other situations.”

About ISM | International Solidarity Movement. 2013. About ISM | International Solidarity Movement. [ONLINE] Available at:http://palsolidarity.org/about/. [Accessed 09 December 2013].

The above, is a quote from the Palestinian-led, ISM website. it states what their aim as an organisation is.

The ISM as a charity, has the purpose, stated in their statement above. the website however, is a media tool, with multi-purposes. like any organisational website, its aim is to self-promote. this involves creating awareness of themselves as a body, as well as promoting the cause they are involved in.

To raise money, is the second motive of their website. they are a not-for-profit charity organisation, and therefor must raise funds, in order to produce operations. emotional responses are required in donors, and therefor the brutality in the photographs, and the intense report headlines can be justified.


To evaluate, the representation by the BBC’s page is a subtle one, in comparison to the ISM web page. there is no way of deriving which is the more realistic, however the differences are very visible. by looking at the aim, and guidelines for each establishment, the content on their pages is accurate, to what they are trying to achieve. the BBC’s page definitely informs, however the extend to which it does that, is still under question.


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