The president of Israel has condemned the BBC for its ‘atrocious’ refusal to brand Hamas as a terrorist group.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Isaac Herzog said Israeli families had been “wiped off the face off the earth” and asked what else the BBC needed “in order for them to admit that we are dealing with the worst terrorist organisation in the world?”.
Mr Herzog told the paper: “I feel the BBC’s reporting is atrocious.
“The fact that it does not recognise Hamas as a terror organisation requires a complete legal battle and public battle. It’s unbelievable.
“I’ve seen the booklet that each of those terrorists received. Each one is instructed to go into an innocent village and kibbutz or city and immediately torture whoever is abducted, immediately.
“What other type of torture do they want before they decide it was a terrorist organisation?”
Under its editorial guidelines, the BBC said it does not use the word “terrorist” but attributes it and makes it clear that Hamas is proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK Government.
A statement from the BBC board, after its regular monthly meeting held earlier this week, said: “No one who has watched or listened to harrowing reports over the last 10 days could be left in any doubt about the horror brought about by Hamas’s attack on defenceless civilians in Israel.
“As this war continues, with so many deaths of innocent civilians in both Israel and Gaza, the BBC will no doubt continue to come under scrutiny about the way in which we cover it – that is to be expected and also welcomed. The BBC is listening.
“We believe that our editorial guidelines serve us well, and continue to serve us well in difficult circumstances; we do periodically review them as a matter of course, and when we do so at our next planned review in the spring, we will consult and debate these issues just as we always do.”
On Monday, the BBC said it has received complaints about its coverage of the conflict and there have been accusations of bias from both sides.
A Jewish BBC sports reporter has resigned from his job because of his bosses’ refusal to describe Hamas as terrorists.
Noah Abrahams, who is 22 and worked on BBC Radio Derby, said the decision to not describe Hamas’s actions as terrorism was ‘unjustified’, adding that words have the power ‘to fuel hate and put fuel on the fire’.
The BBC refers to Hamas as a ‘militant’ group and described the slaughter of civilians as a ‘militant’ attack.
Explaining his decision to quit, Mr Abrahams told TalkTV: ‘I have morals and I stick by them. I think the BBC’s refusal to use the correct terminology is unjustified.
‘Words impact how we think, how we react, how we act. They have influence. [Hamas] aren’t freedom fighters or, as John Simpson refers to them, gunmen. They’re terrorists.
‘There are probably people watching who think I’ve thrown it all away for some words, but words – when neglected – have the power to fuel hate and put fuel on the fire.’
Mr Abrahams said he realised he had made a ‘monumental career life decision’ but felt he needed to make a stand because of the threats currently facing British Jews.
‘Jewish schoolchildren can’t go to school feeling safe and synagogues have security so heightened that it strikes fear to you,’ he said.
‘We’re taking off our jewellery and necklaces. People will avoid London tomorrow because of the threat.
‘That is fear. And anything that happens in Israel – like it or not – has a direct affect on the British community.
‘British Jews are terrified, and so am I, and I don’t feel like I can stand by the BBC any longer with their stance on terminology.’
He added: ‘Jews are terrified, as am I. And I’ve just made a really monumental career and life decision. So as with everyone I’m going through a hard time at the moment.’
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘We always take our use of language very seriously.
‘Anyone watching or listening to our coverage will hear the word ”terrorist” used many times – we attribute it to those who are using it, for example, the UK Government.
‘This is an approach that has been used for decades, and is in line with that of other broadcasters.
‘The BBC is an editorially independent broadcaster whose job is to explain precisely what is happening ”on the ground” so our audiences can make their own judgement.’
BBC comedian, Hardeep Singh Kohli has been charged in connection with ‘non-recent’ sexual offences.
The 54-year-old has been released from custody and is set to appear in court at a later date.
Mr. Kohli is a former Celebrity Big Brother and Celebrity MasterChef contestant and has presented several programmes for the BBC.
It comes following allegations from a number of women, which was reported in The Times last month.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: ‘A 54-year-old man has been arrested and charged in connection with allegations of non-recent sexual offences.
‘He has been released on an undertaking to appear in court at a later date.
‘A report of the circumstances has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.’
Mr Kohli was runner-up in the 2006 series of Celebrity MasterChef, as well as being a housemate in 2018’s Celebrity Big Brother alongside former Arsenal midfielder Jermaine Pennant, Coronation Street actor Ryan Thomas, and former Cheers actress Kirstie Alley.
Before entering the house, Mr Kohli said: ‘It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never gone into the Celebrity Big Brother house at all.’
The comedian’s parents came to the UK from India in the 1960s and Mr Kohli would go on to study law at the University of Glasgow.
Legendary BBC newsreader, George Alagiah, has died at the age of 67 after a nine-year battle with bowel cancer.
Alagiah, who was one of the BBC’s longest-serving and most respected journalists, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2014.
He reported and presented for the BBC for more than three decades, presenting the BBC News at Six for 20 years, and collecting awards as a foreign correspondent in the years prior.
Born in Sri Lanka before moving to Ghana and then England in childhood, he joined the BBC as a foreign affairs correspondent in 1989 and then became an Africa correspondent.
George was named Amnesty International’s Journalist of the Year in 1994 for reporting on the civil war in Burundi and also won the Broadcasting Press Guild’s award for television journalist of the year.
Later, George presented the BBC One O’Clock News, Nine O’Clock News, and BBC Four News, before being made one of the main presenters of BBC News at Six in 2003. George also presented his own show on BBC World News for many years.
He was appointed an OBE for services to journalism in 2008.
George was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in 2014 and returned to presenting the following year. He continued to present for the BBC when not receiving treatment.
He had two sons with his wife of 40 years, Frances Robathan, and three grandchildren.
The BBC confirmed the news of Alagiah’s death, writing:
“Across the BBC, we are all incredibly sad to hear the news about George. We are thinking of his family at this time.
“George was one of the best and bravest journalists of his generation who reported fearlessly from across the world as well as presenting the news flawlessly.
“He was more than just an outstanding journalist, audiences could sense his kindness, empathy, and wonderful humanity. He was loved by all and we will miss him enormously.”
At the Women’s World Cup this month, the BBC will share UK broadcasting duties with the ITV once again.
The first Women’s World Cup 2023 fixture shown on BBC will be the opening game, where joint-hosts New Zealand taken on Norway on Thursday 20 July, with England’s second game against Denmark also being broadcast by BBC.
Gabby Logan is the BBC’s main football presenter for the tournament, continuing on from the role she performed at the Women’s Euros last year. Former England internationals such as Alex Scott, Steph Houghton, Ellen White and Fara Williams will join her in the studio, while Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall will also be offering his expert insight.
Robyn Cowen is the broadcaster’s main commentator, but we’ll also hear from Jonathan Pearce and Vicky Sparks in the gantry.
Gabby Logan is a former gymnast turned TV presenter and the daughter of former Welsh international footballer and manager Terry Yorath. Logan has been presenting on Sky Sports in 1996, moving to ITV in 1998 and later the BBC in 2007. Logan has presented various sports shows on the Beeb and was the lead anchor for Women’s Euro 2022.
Reshmin Chowdhury is an experienced broadcaster who currently leads live coverage of the Premier League on Talksport on Saturday mornings, and also presents for Sky Sports on the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Football Show on the BBC.
Chowdhury has also covered European competitions on BT Sport, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games with Eurosport and Discovery+, and presented for ITV at Euro 2020.
Alex Scott appeared 140 times for England, represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics and won five titles in English football with Arsenal. When she covered the men’s 2018 FIFA World Cup, she became the first female football pundit at a World Cup for the BBC and has since presented Football Focus, coverage of women’s football on the BBC and the 2020 Olympic Games alongside Clare Balding.
As well as presenting, Scott will also work as a pundit for some games, too.
BBC’s World Cup pundits
Ellen White retired from professional football less than 12 months ago, after winning Euro 2022 with the Lionesses. She started all six games at the tournament, scoring twice, and retired from the national team with 52 goals in 113 caps – making her the highest scoring England women’s player in history. She has since worked as a pundit on WSL coverage.
Despite still playing for Manchester City, Houghton hasn’t featured for England since 2021 – though injuries suggested she might be included for the 2023 World Cup. Alas, she wasn’t selected, but the BBC have snapped her up instead to work as a pundit for the tournament. She has played 121 times for her nation in her career, a large amount as captain.
With 172 caps to her name, Williams has played the most games for England in history. Since retiring in 2021, she has gone onto frequently work in the media, with regular appearances on Sky Sports for their WSL coverage, as well as for the BBC during England women games.
Rachel Brown-Finnis is a former goalkeeper who played 82 times for England between 1997 and 2013. She now works for Everton’s Community Project, as well as a pundit for BBC’s Football Focus, BBC’S Women’s Football Show and at multiple tournaments as both a pundit and co-commentator. She will continue both roles for Australia and New Zealand.
Anita Asante is the current Bristol City WFC manager, and achieved promotion from the Women’s Championship in her first season in charge. The 38-year-old retired from football just last year having made 71 appearances for England during her career.
Karen Bardsley earned 82 caps in goal for England and won major trophies with Manchester City. She retired in 2022 after a long-term injury. She worked at the 2022 World Cup as a co-commentator, something she will do alongside being a pundit for the tournament Down Under.
Laura Georges is the Secretary General of the French Football Federation, having garned 188 caps for her country in a 17-year career. Georges played for the likes of Lyon, PSG and Bayern Munich in her career, winning the Division 1 Feminine six times with Lyon, as well as the Women’s Champions League twice. She appeared as a pundit during Women’s Euro 2022 and the men’s 2022 World Cup.
Eidevall is the current manager of WSL outfit Arsenal. While the Swede will soon start preparations for the domestic new campaign, he is set to offer his services to the BBC for the tournament – just as he did at Euro 2022 last summer.
Scott Booth currently manages Lewes in the Women’s Championship, and recently helped the club reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup. A former professional himself, Booth played for the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Aberdeen and Twente during his career, before venturing into coaching.
After retiring from football, Booth began a career in broadcasting. He worked as a match co-commentator and pundit for Setanta Sports until its UK broadcasting operation went into administration. He has also worked for STV, BBC Radio Scotland and ESPN.
BBC’s World Cup commentators
Robyn Cowen is the lead commentator on the BBC for women’s football. She has also been a prominent voice on Match of the Day since 2018, joining the BBC in 2011, working primarily on radio before her move to MOTD.
Jonathan Pearce has been commentating on the BBC since the 1990s and is also known as the voice of cult show Robot Wars on the BBC. Pearce is also a prominent voice in women’s football and has frequently commentated on women’s tournaments in his time on the Beeb.
Vicki Sparks is a journalist and football commentator for BBC Sport and BT Sport. In 2018, she became the first woman to commentate on a live men’s World Cup match on British television, when she covered Portugal’s 1-0 win over Morocco.
BBC boss Tim Davie has apologised for the disruption to the station’s sports coverage this weekend following the decision to remove Gary Lineker from Saturday night’s Match of the Day programme.
The BBC announced on Friday that Lineker would be “stepping back” from the show after his criticism of the UK government on Twitter earlier in the week.
Lineker said the government’s latest policy on migrant boats was “beyond awful” and “Immeasurably cruel”, going on to add that the language employed was “not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”.
After Lineker was relieved of his duties for this weekend’s Match of the Day, his colleagues showed solidarity by pulling out, leaving the programme to go ahead with no presenter, no analysis and no commentary on Saturday night.
Football Focus and Final Score were also wiped from the schedules following a series of high-profile absences, along with BBC Radio 5 Live’s flagship football show.
“It has been a difficult day,” Davie told BBC news. “We are working very hard to resolve the situation.”
And he added: “Success for me is getting Gary back on air. I would like to see Gary Lineker return on air on the BBC. With that, we have to listen.”
Earlier, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called Lineker a “talented presenter” and said he hoped the matter would be resolved soon.
“Gary Lineker was a great footballer and is a talented presenter,” he said. “I hope that the current situation between Gary Lineker and the BBC can be resolved in a timely manner, but it is rightly a matter for them, not the government.”
Gary Lineker, presenter of the BBC’s Match of the Day, has been left on the bench this weekend with his future in doubt.
Lineker this week tweeted his support (opens in new tab) for refugees, labelling a recent government policy as an “Immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”.
The BBC later announced that “until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media,” Lineker would be standing aside from presenting duties on the Premier League highlights show.
Will the BBC sack the Match of the Day presenter?
Interestingly, Lineker himself does not think of himself as an employee of the BBC, labelling himself in one interview (opens in new tab) as “freelance”. However, the Beeb may still decide to cut ties with the presenter, who is still one of their highest earners, despite working elsewhere, too.
According to Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby (opens in new tab), a senior BBC insider was asked whether the state broadcaster and Lineker could part company. The insider in question seemed optimistic that it would not come to that, replying, “Hopefully it will be resolved.”
Despite this, it is still uncertain as to what happens next. With Lineker reportedly refusing to apologise (opens in new tab) for his tweet, it seems as if the BBC will either have to back down in the face of mounting pressure from other pundits and fans – or remove Lineker permanently.
Ian Wright and Alan Shearer have both announced that they will be standing in solidarity with Lineker and refusing to appear on MOTD this weekend.
BBC show Match of the Day will go ahead without Gary Lineker this weekend, with the state broadcaster suspending the Leicester City legend from the anchor seat.
The Beeb announced today that Lineker would “step back from presenting Match of the Day until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media,” after the show’s face tweeted that a government policy on refugees was “immeasurably cruel”.
With Ian Wright standing in solidarity with Lineker this weekend, questions are arising as to who will step into the breach to present the flagship football show on the channel tomorrow night.
Who will present Match of the Day on BBC One in Gary Lineker’s absence?
The BBC have not announced a replacement presenter for Gary Lineker at this stage.
There are a number of candidates for the role, however, none have discussed the Lineker controversy on social media, aside from Ian Wright. Mark Chapman, who presents plenty of football coverage on the BBC, is likely to be the first pick for the programme.
Gabby Logan completed the presenting line-up for the 2022 World Cup out in Qatar – where Lineker was, in fact, allowed to talk about the controversy of the host nation.
The BBC are facing the possibility of others deciding to back Lineker and abstain from appearing on MOTD for the foreseeable future. The ex-England forward is an immensely popular figure with football fans, professionals and pundits alike.