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PCC backs Guardian in West Bank dispute

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Arab Today, arab today PCC backs Guardian in West Bank dispute

London – Tom Rollins

Britain’s media watchdog the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has ruled on a series of articles published in The Guardian in response to Israeli’s decision to build 3,000 settlement homes in the West Bank, deeming articles “not…significantly inaccurate or misleading.” The controversy began when CiFWatch, an US-based website that claims to monitor The Guardian’s pages for what it describes as anti-Semitism and “the assault on Israel’s legitimacy,” complained about the way the E1 settlement plan was described in a December 3 editorial, along with two other articles. Complaints centred on the use of phrases "cutting the West Bank in two," and similarly, "close off East Jerusalem … from the West Bank.” CiFWatch argued that the West Bank would not be cut in two, due to a 15-kilometre stretch of land linking the north and south of the Palestinian territory. On March 18 the PCC wrote to The Guardian to say that "no matters have been raised which show a breach of the code,” referring to the organisation’s code of practice to ensure neutrality and ethical journalism. The PCC responded in a statement: “Whilst the commission acknowledged that, taken individually, the statements under complaint appeared in some instances to simplify the geographic situation, it did not consider that, taken in the context of the articles as a whole, the statements had been significantly inaccurate or misleading." Britain’s embattled press watchdog came under fire in the wake of the hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s News International, with critics claiming the body was “ineffectual” and “lacked teeth.”

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