Barbara Plett

Barbara Plett

Barbara Plett is a Canadian journalist who became the focus of a controversy when she admitted that the sight of a terminally ill Yasser Arafat had made her cry.

Plett graduated from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She worked as BBC correspondent in Jerusalem before being transferred to Islamabad. Plett is married to Graham Usher, the former Jerusalem correspondent of "The Economist" magazine.Gross, Tom (November 28, 2005). " [ BBC sanctions reporter who cried for Arafat (& “Hitler” running in Fatah primaries).] " URL accessed on December 30, 2006.]

During the BBC programme "From Our Own Correspondent" broadcast on September 30, 2004, Plett admitted that when she saw Yasser Arafat being taken to hospital during his terminal illness, she started to cry: "... when the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose above his ruined compound, I started to cry... without warning." [Plett, Barbara (September 30, 2004). " [ Yasser Arafat's unrelenting journey] ". BBC. URL accessed on October 22, 2006.] Her admission prompted criticism of the BBC over what the critics saw as the broadcaster's pro-Palestinian bias.Gibson, Owen (November 26, 2005). " [,14173,1651260,00.html BBC bias complaint upheld] ". "The Guardian". URL accessed on January 8, 2007.] BBC News defended Plett in a statement saying that her reporting had met the high standards of "fairness, accuracy and balance" expected of a BBC correspondent.

Initially, a complaint of bias against Plett was turned down by the BBC's head of editorial complaints. However, almost a year later, on November 25, 2005, the programme complaints committee of the BBC governorsGibson, Owen (November 26, 2005). " [,14173,1651260,00.html BBC bias complaint upheld] ". "The Guardian". URL accessed on October 22, 2006.] ruled that Plett’s comments “breached the requirements of due impartiality”. Despite initially issuing a statement in support of Plett, the BBC director of news Helen Boaden later apologized for what she described as "an editorial misjudgment". The governors praised Boaden's speedy response and commissioned a wider ranging study into the BBC's coverage of the Israeli—Palestinian conflict.

ee also

*Media coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict
*Criticism of the BBC


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