The BBC World Service: A mouthpiece of the British establishment – By Shiraz Paracha

On 24 September 2010, the BBC World Service television broadcast an interview with the US President Barack Hussein Obama in which the U.S. leader trashed the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his comments at the UN General Assembly the previous day.
Not a U.S. news organization but the BBC provided Obama its platform to attack the Iranian leader for 23 minutes. The BBC makes tall claims about fairness, balance and objectivity but in practice the BBC is highly biased, especially when it comes to the coverage of countries that are not friendly to Britain, for example, Iran, Burma, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Venezuela and others. Also the BBC from little Britain lectures powers such as China, Russia, India and Pakistan on how to be fair or protect freedoms. In fact, the BBC World Service has an imperialistic approach towards non-Western countries and cultures.
Not many people know that the major share of the so-called independent BBC World Service budget comes from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office funds. And the BBC World Service is not completely independent of the British establishment that also includes the British secret services the MI5 and MI6. In many ways the BBC World Service is a state-owned news organization.
In his address to the annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Mahmoud Ahmadinaejad made a thought provoking speech about issues and problems that our World faces, but the Western media, including the BBC, presented his speech out of the context. They showed selected bits and pieces of President Ahmadinaejad’s address with negative commentaries.
The Iranian President should have been praised for what he said at the international forum. During his speech, he showed great respect for all religions and cultures of the world. He described the long lasting effects of slavery and colonization on humanity and said that the current neo-colonialism is the root cause of the world’s troubles. President Ahmadinaejad mentioned the deadly consequences of wars. He criticized the ‘War on Terror’ and said that the 9/11 2001 tragedy needs to be reinvestigated because not everybody agreed on who was responsible for the attacks on the New York twin towers.
However, the BBC portrayed President Ahmadinaejad as an impulsive and crazy man, ignoring the fact that he is the elected President of Iran. The BBC accuses the Iranian leader of election fraud and presents him as a dictator who grabbed power by foul play, but the BBC did not use the same kind of language for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former U.S. President George Bush who had actually committed fraud and lied to the public. In the eyes of the BBC, British and American leaders are wise statesmen.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the United States does not have diplomatic relations with Iran but Britain has. The United States and Britain work together due to the so-called special relationship between the two states. This special relationship is mostly in the spheres of defense and intelligence gathering.
In 2004, I had visited a facility in Caversham, near Reading in Britain. The building housed sub-offices of the U.S. defense department and the BBC Monitoring Service. The latter was established in 1942. Here experts and researchers gather and evaluate news and commentaries from 3,000 media sources from around the world. They monitor material in more than 100 languages to produce reports for senior civil servants, ministers, intelligence services, think tanks and other policy institutions.
Britain is the closest ally of the United States after Israel. Britain and the United States act together against enemies and often conduct joint covert operations. Propaganda is one area of their areas of mutual cooperation.
The BBC World Service is a tool of “White Propaganda”. In Psychological Warfare (PSYOP) “White Propaganda” is a very sophisticated form of propaganda. In “White Propaganda” the source of news and information is known and credible, however, the audience is never told complete truth. The purpose of this propaganda is to tell the audience incomplete and half truths. Information is filtered and selected and the News is manufactured with the aim to lead the audience towards desired conclusions.
The Voice of America (VOA) was established in 1942 as a White Propaganda organ of the U.S. government. It is still funded by the State Department but the VOA has not won the credibility which its sister organization the BBC has. The BBC World Service was established just before the Second World War to enhance the British propaganda against Nazi Germany. Throughout the War the BBC was engaged in anti-Nazi propaganda.
From the late 1940s, the BBC became a tool of Western propaganda against the Soviet Union and countries of the Eastern block. In 1956, the CIA established Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty to attack the Soviet Union on the propaganda front but both the radio services never achieved the effectiveness that the BBC World Service possessed.
During the ‘Cold War’ the BBC World Service was broadcasting in 42 languages to the audience in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America with the aim of defeating Communism and protecting regimes that were friendly to Britain and the United States.
The BBC has been hostile to governments that pose any threat to the U.S. and British interests anywhere in the world. When Iranian Prime Minister Dr. Muhammad Mossadaq nationalized the Iranian oil industry in the early 1950s, the BBC waged a war against the elected leader of Iran. The CIA and the British intelligence agency, the MI6, conducted a dirty joint operation to remove Prime Minister Mossadaq from power and occupy the Iranian oil. The operation was successful.
Similarly, when in 1979 the Islamic Revolution occurred in Iran, the BBC Persian Service in London was filled with anti-revolution Iranians who supported the deposed King Raza Shah Pehilvey. To date, the BBC Persian Service broadcasts are biased against the elected government of Iran.
The BBC World Service launched a carefully orchestrated campaign against Pakistan’s elected Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1976-77, when Bhutto refused to abandon Pakistan’s nuclear program under the U.S. and British pressure. The BBC South Asia correspondent, Mark Talley, as well as translators and broadcasters at the BBC Urdu Service, exaggerated news reports about the opposition to Prime Minister Bhutto. When General Zia-ul-Haq removed Prime Minister Bhutto in a Coup d’état and later hanged him, the BBC reporting was not critical of the military regime because Zia was instrumental in the West’s proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
The BBC also has a clear pro-Israel bias in its news coverage. The Israeli embassy in London lobbies the BBC. Embassy officials make phone calls to editors to tone down stories critical of Israel. A friend of mine, who was a reporter at the BBC Radio 4, was often intimidated by Israeli diplomats because he did not accept their pressure but his editors and other colleagues did. Whenever Israeli aggression against helpless and weak Palestinians takes place, the BBC presents most incidents of aggression either as Israeli reaction to Palestinian ‘terrorism’ or a conflict between two equals. Israeli crimes are shown as innocent mistakes or trivial incidents.
In the name of balance, the BBC and many Western media organizations show both sides of an argument but they are selective in what they show and how it is presented. For example, establishment figures and leaders of friendly regimes are interviewed in the comfort of their homes or offices. They are not asked challenging questions and they are granted more time. On the other hand, freedom fighters, anti-establishment groups, and people from non-Western cultures are not given enough time, they are interviewed on the streets and under pressure, and they are asked tough questions.
The BBC also manipulates its audience in several other ways. For example, guests are carefully vetted for BBC shows. The audience may see different faces on their television screens but often guests on the BBC shows represent the same side.
Voices opposed to the status quo are allowed on the BBC programs but usually they are outnumbered by people who support the establishment or the status quo. Those who are opposed to Western hegemony are not given proper time and opportunity to present their case.
On the night of 11 September 2001, the BBC invited Israeli fundamentalist leader Benjamin Netanyahu (the current Israeli prime minister) in its Newsnight program and provided him with an opportunity to blame Muslims for the 9/11 attacks. By that time no one knew who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks but thanks to the BBC just few hours after the mysterious attacks people of one faith (Islam) were blamed for the attacks.
The BBC World Service focuses on conflicts, diseases and disasters in poor countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America but it does not explain the background and the real causes of troubles.
The BBC shows ‘terrorists’ in Somalia and mentions violence in Sudan, Sierra Leone Liberia and other African countries but usually there is no word about the role of Western governments, institutions, NGOs and businesses in those conflicts. The BBC does not make connections between violence in Africa and the Western inference in Africa.
The BBC broadcasts reports on the activities left-wing gorillas in Latin America by presenting them as drug dealers. However, it does not criticize brutal policies of the U.S-backed regimes in Columbia or Guatemala. The United States has been providing arms to corrupt and cruel regimes in Latin and Central America. Such regimes kill and torture innocent people but the BBC and the Western media organizations do not fully expose the U.S-sponsored brutality and violations of human rights.
As a British organization that is funded by the state, the BBC has the right to protect the British interests but it is ridiculous when BBC bosses market the BBC as an objective and independent news organization and claim

editorial independence. Such claims are simply untrue. The BBC’s impartiality and objectivity is a joke as Bush House London, the BBC World Service headquarters, is a torture cell for independent and objective journalists.
Shiraz Paracha is a journalist and analyst. His email address is:





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