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Phones, letters, e-mails

Host Host | 10:01 UK time, Monday, 17 July 2006

Among the audience response to the BBC in the past 24 hours were many people debating our reporting of the Middle East crisis (one person objected to the increased use of the headline-friendly phrase "Mid East"). Some people claimed we gave too much emphasis to the situation in Lebanon - there was an objection to an interview with a 12-year-old British schoolboy in Lebanon because his views "weren't valid". Others claimed we gave Israeli interviewees too easy a ride. We also received this e-mail:

"Hi! Well, I've been reading your Country Profiles and I think you give a very prejudice perception of ALL of them..."

Last word to this e-mailer:

Please can we have some cheerful news, the world can’t be all gloom. I read the BBC internet News most days, however I am getting to the stage of not bothering as all it does is make me unhappy. Surely you have a reporter somewhere in the world who can find something other than war, death and despondency.


  • 1.
  • At 10:41 AM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • Mick wrote:

I agree that most news bulletins now are packed with "war, death and despondency", but it's those negative news stories which produce get people talking. "If it bleeds, it leads", as they say...

  • 2.
  • At 11:28 AM on 17 Jul 2006,
  • Ed wrote:

Well, everyone's views are valid, whatever age or nationality they are. That's not to say they're correct, but the fact they're incorrect can say something in itself.

As for country profiles, I think that its incredibly hard to provide an unbiased view of a country. As such a profile is either going to be a pure list of facts - geographical statistics, political parties, demographics etc or its going to be to some extent subjective.

I think I'd rather read a subjective article about a country than a list of facts, obviously keeping in mind that it is subjective.

"Please can we have some cheerful news"

Thats not the way the media work. Who would want to buy a newspaper or watch a news programme that said 'everything is OK' on its front page? No one.

In your article 'Who are Hezbollah?', which is supposed to be a backgrounder article oriented to uninformed readers, you define Hezbollah as a 'powerful political and military organisation of Shia Muslims in Lebanon'.

This is an outright error. Hezbollah is a TERRORIST organization, dedicated to kill innocent civilians (about 800 to date) and extortion the West. They did so in the past and continue to do so today by firing rockets into Israeli towns.

Examples: the suicide truck bombings that killed more than 200 U.S. Marines in Beirut, in 1983;
the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847;
the 1992 Israeli Embassy and 1994 Jewish community center attacks in Argentina, killing over 120 people.

However, the word 'terror' or any derivative does not appear even ONCE in your article.

Please review and correct. A lie of omission is no less a lie.

  • 5.
  • At 01:48 AM on 18 Jul 2006,
  • James T. wrote:

"Please can we have some cheerful news"

Certainly: see the articles about Discovery's "picture perfect" space mission, the success of YouTube, the innovation behind the Memory Spot chip, etc. BBC and other organizations provide much in the way of positive news but we just tend to focus on the negative.

  • 6.
  • At 08:57 PM on 19 Jul 2006,
  • Pooja wrote:

The news nowadays is far from cheerful and I agree we cannot always feel gloom and need to hear something bright once in a while. But I have come to relize we live in difficult, stressful and anxious times, where there is no longer any sensitivity to human life, tolerance and acceptance toward one another. It is awful to think that as though AIDs, starvation, Cancer, Tsunamis, Hurricanes, car accidents, plane crashes are not bad enough in this world, we now have to resort daily to bombs, targetting innocent civilians and killing little children for mostly material things that most of our generation takes for granted, gas, electricity, food, water, shelter, medicine. We live in our comfortable world and should be thankful for having what we have, considering what has become of daily life in certain parts of the world, and forgetting we have troops in the line of fire every minute that we complain, go shopping, eat, spend $ and enjoy life. I think the younfer generation needs to start thinking beyond materialism and self created miseries and realize life is no longer as cushy and easy we we once knew it. It dissapoints me to see how people are hung up on the most immaterial and selfish aspects of what they desire in life, and I worry for the unborn children we bring to this world to think of the uncertain life that is waiting for them. What have we done to this world? We developed over 100s of years to grow in technology, infrastructure, medicine, only to destroy it all in a second. Scary!

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