KUWAIT: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Thursday issued a statement apologizing for historical fabrications and false allegations about Kuwait’s sovereignty. It said that the question, which was raised by Trending Show presenter Rania Attar over Kuwait’s historical sovereignty, appeared to have been asked in a wrong and unclear way that did not meet the BCC’s impartiality criteria, and that’s why an apology was needed. It added that it cannot be a party in this regard or even adopt a certain view, especially in controversial matters, according to the statement. “BBC would like to confirm that it handles such matters, which are related to its editorial policy based on balance, objectivity and neutrality, with much seriousness, and to do everything necessary to ensure that these criteria are met,” it noted.
The Kuwaiti Ministry of Information had rebuffed the fabrications and allegations of a BBC Arabic show on Kuwait’s sovereignty. The ministry regretted and condemned, in a press statement, that BBC presenter Rania Al-Attar’s program ‘Trending’ had fabricated allegations about the historical sovereignty of the State of Kuwait, which violated professional rules and distorted historical facts. “Such false claims and serious mistakes are utterly unacceptable, especially when this comes from an international media outlet, which is supposed to observe professional criteria and to clarify, not distort, facts,” the ministry said. The Kuwaiti Ministry of Information wondered about the timing of such claims, which coincided with the 28th anniversary of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Ministry of Information has the right to pursue any entity or institution that deliberately commits this historical distortion, the statement concluded. – KUNA
In an official statement to Kuwait Times on 5 August 2018, the BBC refuted the ‘apology’ as published by Kuna, Kuwait’s state news agency:
“Our statement did not apologize for “historical fabrications and false allegations” but was referring to one specific question in the Trending program.
A BBC spokesperson said: “A segment in the Trending program covered a suggestion made by the Iraqi ambassador to Kuwait, that the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait should be renamed the “Saddam invasion”. Addressing the conflicting viewpoints on this, the program presenter asked her Iraqi guest a question around “Kuwait having been historically a part of Iraq until 1920”, instead of clearly stating that this was only the allegation of some Iraqis, which stirred a heated online and social media debate and some sharp reactions.
We would like to reiterate the BBC’s policy of presenting all points of views to the viewers. The BBC will always be impartial, particularly with highly conflicted issues. Having reviewed the interview, it became clear that the way the question was incorrectly worded, lacked the necessary clarity and did not reflect our values of impartiality, and for this we apologize.
The BBC takes with utmost seriousness its commitment to balance, impartiality and independence and takes all necessary steps to make sure they are reflected on all its platforms.”