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Sunday, April 17, 2011

An MP responds

Do you all remember Louise Bagshawe, the British MP who wrote an article in London's Telegraph blasting the BBC over its lack of coverage of the Fogel massacre? A British friend of mine here in Israel wrote her to thank her for her article and got this in response.
Dear Brian

Thank you for writing to me about my article in the Daily Telegraph concerning the BBC’s coverage of the tragic Fogel massacre that took place in Israel last month. I was however overwhelmed with amount of correspondence I received (over 450 emails alone) so please excuse this generic response.

It was terrible to see that the brutal murder of nearly an entire family was not picked up further by the British media, and in particular the BBC who have long heralded their neutrality and independence on reporting current affairs. I was glad to speak up for what I saw as biased coverage of a serious crime.

I expressed my grave concerns to the BBC and recently received a written response from the Director of BBC News. In her letter she makes clear concessions that, despite the number of news stories going on that day, in hindsight they should have found more room for the story on the BBC News Channel.

It is only by putting pressure on news organisations, and especially those funded by British taxpayers, that we can help to prevent atrocities such as this from being overlooked. In my role as a Member of Parliament and a member of the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee I feel I was able to deliver a clear message to the BBC in regards to their reporting on Israel.

One major reason the BBC listened and admitted fault was that I could point out to them how many emails and letters, like yours, I received. So your taking the trouble to write had a direct effect. I thank you for that and for your email. Although this is a standard response due to the overwhelming volume, can I assure you that over several hours I sat down and read every single email sent to me individually. It was an incredibly moving experience and I found myself in tears many times.

Thank you again, therefore, for having gone to the trouble of researching my email address (which was not mentioned in the original article) and having written in support. It had a direct effect, and we can only hope the BBC and others in the media will learn from this for future coverage.

For all those of you who are Jewish, may I wish you and your families a very happy Passover for next week.

With best wishes,

Louise Bagshawe signature JPEG (10)

Louise Bagshawe MP
There's a lesson there for all of us.

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