False claims claim BBC removed Middle East correspondent Jeremy Bowen under pressure from Israel

False Claims Claim BBC Removed Middle East Correspondent Jeremy Bowen Under Pressure From Israel

A Facebook post, shared 370 times since it was published on May 22, 2021, claims that the BBC removed Jeremy Bowen from Gaza following Israeli complaints about his pro-Hamas comments. However, this claim is false and is based on a fabricated screenshot circulating since 2014.

Background and origin of the fake screenshot

On May 22, 2021, a Facebook post was published, claiming that Israel had asked the BBC to remove Jeremy Bowen from Gaza because of his allegedly pro-Hamas comments. The screenshot, made to look like a BBC post, was shared 370 times in a matter of days.

Screenshot of the fake Facebook post, taken on May 25, 2021

Jeremy Bowen, Middle East editor at the BBC, wrote a article in the New Statesman in 2014, claiming to have seen "no evidence" that Hamas was using human shields in Gaza. However, the claim that the BBC removed it from the region is false.

A fabricated screenshot circulating since 2014

An internet search reveals that this fabricated screenshot has been circulating online since 2014. In August 2014, the BBC published a article titled: “#BBCtrending: Jeremy Bowen and the Twitter conspiracy.” In this article, the organization confirmed that the screenshot was false and that Bowen was still working as a journalist in Gaza.

The BBC explained that the journalist had not appeared on screen for a few days because he was on vacation, sparking a rumor that the organization had removed him from the region in response to a complaint from Israel. At that time, Bowen had just published the above-mentioned article in the New Statesman.

Reactions and denials

In 2018, the same screenshot resurfaced online, prompting Bowen to reply by a tweet: “This is fake news. Someone used the BBC logo as part of a deception. The BBC has supported my reporting consistently and effectively for over 30 years. She did not remove me from Gaza against my will – or anywhere else.”

A day after this screenshot resurfaced on May 22, 2021, following a new wave of violence in the region, the BBC published a article on the conflict signed by Bowen.

May 2021 conflict in Gaza

In May 2021, violence broke out in Gaza between Israel and armed military groups, mainly Hamas. The 11-day conflict ended after an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire, which took effect on May 21, as reported AFP.

Israeli military strikes on Gaza have killed more than 250 Palestinians and injured more than 1 people, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Rockets and other fire from Gaza have killed 900 people in Israel, according to doctors. More than 12 people in Israel were injured.


Sources used:

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