BBC Arabic Faces Backlash By Saudi Okaz Newspaper for 'Qatar Bias'

Published September 20th, 2018 - 10:50 GMT
BBC Arabic is accused of Qatar-biased against Saudi Arabia.
BBC Arabic is accused of Qatar-biased against Saudi Arabia.

BBC Arabic is under the fire by the Saudi newspaper, Okaz, for alleged 'bias' in its Qatar reporting since June 2017.

In an editorial published earlier this week, Okaz accused BBC Arabic of following the footsteps of the Doha-based Al Jazeera by showing a clear Qatar bias in covering the Gulf crisis.

According to Okaz, the accusations came after the BBC Arabic reported an op-ed claiming it was published in the Times of London yet it was reported by Al Jazeera. It blames BBC reporters of not making any effort to fact-check Al Jazeera reports before reporting it and citing its sources.

“BBC Arabic Following Footsteps of Al Jazeera, Drowning in the Swamp of Bias”

While Okaz did not specify what BBC report angered them, social media users believe it was the BBC story on the Times op-ed that suggested Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s days in position are numbered.

“Times: Saudi Prince Days Are Numbered”

The op-ed was published by the Times last week before Arabic and western media reported it later.

Read More: Times of London: 'Mohammed Bin Salman's Days Are Numbered'

Okaz also accused the BBC of Iran-bias against Saudi Arabia. It highlights the BBC’s lack of transparency in reporting the Iranian protests while allegedly exaggerating any news that might harm the Kingdom.

Translation: “BBC had reported an article published in the Times of London on Mohammed bin Salman, which angered the Saudi media outlets and electronic bots and the only thing left is releasing a song: “Teach the BBC” [Song released by Saudi and Emirati singers against Qatar in the beginning of the crisis]. What is funny about this is that “Okaz” is lecturing about “transparency”.”

Meanwhile, many social media users supported Okaz’s argument against BBC, accusing BBC of establishing Al Jazeera at first before it got out of control.

Translation: “Do not forget that Al Jazeera was the BBC, as whoever planned it thought it have stronger effect and it worked for years. However, when Al Jazeera aims were exposed, the BBC went back to its original work.”

Since the Gulf crisis started by a Saudi-led ally with UAE, Bahrain and Egypt against Qatar, Saudi and Qatari media outlets had been in a media war in which both parts are turning blind eye to abuses at home while firing back at each other.

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