CANBERRA, Australia — The Australian Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) has been forced to apologize for its coverage of the anti-Israel violence in Jerusalem at the start of the recent Temple Mount crisis.
The taxpayer-funded broadcaster was forced into the backdown after a TV news report on June 17 covered the terror stabbing of 23-year-old Israeli police officer Hadas Malka.
The SBS item began by stating “Israeli security forces have shot dead three Palestinians accused of carrying out shooting and stabbing attacks in Jerusalem.” The voice-over only subsequently noted the “stabbing [of] a border police officer” without mentioning Staff Sgt. Malka had died.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) executive director Peter Wertheim noted the omission of Malka’s death from the report, despite other media reporting it, in his written complaint to the SBS ombudsman.
“This was an appalling omission … Nor does it appear that the omission was inadvertent, as it is entirely in keeping with the whole tenor of the report, which is to highlight only the deaths of those who instigated the attack,” Wertheim wrote. “This is not only sloppy reporting, but also biased reporting.”
In her response, SBS ombudsman Sally Begbie stated “the report was found to have breached the [SBS] code for accuracy and impartiality”.
Begbie admitted information Malka had died of her wounds “was available prior to broadcast and should have been included in the SBS report”.
“As this was the first time these incidents were reported in the SBS World News 6.30pm television bulletin, and given the error in not reporting the police fatality, I consider that the way in which this report was constructed could unintentionally have left the average viewer with an unfair impression of the incidents.” Begbie admitted “the manner in which the incidents were reported lessened the impact of the initial actions”.
She added that “SBS apologises for this breach” and staff have been reminded of the importance of fairness and accuracy.
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