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Youth news show criticised by BBC Trust
Newsbeat, BBC Radio’s youth-orientated news service, has committed a “serious breach” of editorial guidelines by broadcasting an interview with a British jihadi who compared fighting for the terrorist group Islamic State to playing a computer game.
The BBC Trust said Newsbeat had a “responsibility to protect children and young people from unsuitable content” and that the broadcast should have come with an appropriate warning for Radio 1 listeners, many of whom are at school.
In the piece, broadcast last June, Newsbeat used a clip from an online video called The Isis Podcast, in which a young British man using the name Abu Sumayyah Al-Britani talked of the pleasures of jihad.
The Isis fighter was introduced as “speaking from an internet café near his training camp in north-west Syria”. A Newsbeat reporter said: “Some say Isis is overtaking Al Qaeda as one of the world’s most dangerous jihadist organisations. Sumayyah believes what they are fighting for is right.”
The terrorist was then heard saying: “It’s actually quite fun. Better than, how you’d say, what’s that game called, Call of Duty. It’s like that but really… 3D you know. You can see everything that’s happening in front of you, you know it’s real, you know what I mean?”
The Trust found that Newsbeat had also failed to sufficiently challenge the statements put forward in the Isis video and had failed to meet the BBC Editorial Guideline that demands that “contributors expressing contentious views, either through an interview or other means, must be rigorously tested”.
The BBC executive argued that the film gave young listeners “a rare and valuable opportunity to understand through first-hand testimony the motivation of an individual who had chosen to fight with Isis”.
But it accepted that the report “should have been preceded by a warning” and that “more contextual information” should have been included. It stressed that the film was not an Isis propaganda vehicle but a podcast produced by two freelance journalists studying the terror group.
A 13-year-old boy has told the BBC of his plans to join Islamic State, after watching jihadist videos and chatting to IS fighters online.
The teenager, who wants to be known as “Abu Hattab” was born in Syria and was first radicalised last year when he joined the extremist group Sham al-Islam.
He had Sharia lessons and learned how to use weapons. Within weeks, he says, he will go to the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria to become a young jihadi soldier.
Abu told the BBC’s Mark Lowen: “Soon the West will be finished.”
Pro-Russian separatists have fired a big barrage of Grad rockets at Ukrainian troops in the eastern region of Luhansk, killing as many as 30. Russian BM-21 Grad multiple launch rocket system launches rockets during military exercises in the southern Russia’s Volgograd region, on April 2, 2014. © AFP
A rocket strike in the east Ukrainian region of Luhansk has killed up to 30 soldiers, Ukrainian officials say, blaming it on separatist rebels.
They said a barrage of Grad rockets had been fired by the rebels. Such weapons are classed as heavy artillery weapons, fired in batches from trucks.
Unconfirmed reports put the Ukrainian death toll as high as 30, with dozens more wounded, near Zelenopillya.
Elsewhere, the rebels shelled Ukrainian troops at Donetsk airport.
Zoryan Shkyryak, an adviser to Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, gave details of the Zelenopillya rocket attack: “So far, the information available speaks of up to 30 dead. The number of casualties may increase.”
The rebels, he said, had used a Grad system and the destruction was “really heavy”.
A motorised brigade from Lviv, western Ukraine, was targeted in the rocket attack, the Ukrainian news website Unian reports.
The rebels have regrouped in Donetsk as the Ukrainian military has retaken territory in the country’s east. The rebels have not yet broken through to the airport. (more…)
Relatives mourn during the funeral of pro-Ukrainian supporter Andrei Biryukov, 36, who was shot four days ago during violent clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian militants on May 6, 2014 in Odessa, on May 2. Unrest in Ukraine spread to the south as thousands of pro-Russian protesters attacked Odessa’s police headquarters after a fire killed dozens of their comrades, in violence Kiev charged was a Russian plot to “destroy” the country. AFP PHOTO/ DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV
A lot has been reported about the events in Odessa on May 2, and the following is no attempt to repeat reliable chronicles of witnesses, just to add certain points – and certain images – that either get forgotten or which Russian TV channels are assiduously muffling or distorting.
Viewers of Russia Today can easily switch channels – to BBC, CNN, others – and find a markedly different version of events. This is not the case for the majority of television viewers in Russia and, at present, in some parts of Ukraine, including the Crimea.
The desperate efforts to save those trapped in Trade Union House which Russian TV channels prefer not to show
They hear only about the fire in the Trade Union House which they are told was set alight by “radicals”, that those who died had tried to escape into the building, and those who survived the fire were then arrested.
They hear next to nothing or a distorted version of the run-up to the fire: the fact that a group of well-armed pro-Russian militants attacked a peaceful pro-unity procession. Although the procession preceded a scheduled soccer match, there were very many people present of different ages, and levels of interest – or none – in soccer (see the photo).
The first person to die of a gunshot wound was one of the pro-Ukrainian soccer fans. That, according to Serhiy Dibrov, a civic activist from Odessa was when the violence exploded, with people on both sides fighting. Most of the deaths however were due to the fire in the Trade Union House and that is where a worrying number of questions remain unanswered. (more…)