Last night's BBC1 10 O'clock News contained a report by Gavin Hewitt over the controversy surrounding allegations that President Bush had been dissuaded by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, from bombing the offices of the Arab satellite news station, Al-Jazeera.
In his report Mr Hewitt stated that the US had described the allegations as 'outlandish'.
Surely it would have been fair at this point to have informed BBC viewers with the fact that the US had in fact previously bombed the bureaux offices of al-Jazeera in Kabul in 2001 and in Baghdad in 2003 (killing one al-Jazeera employee in the Baghdad attack). We believe these facts were quite pertinent to the issue at hand and would have helped viewer decide whether the reports were indeed 'outlandish' or not. We are disappointed with the omission of these facts from last night's report.
The hostility of certain very senior elements of the US Administration to al-Jazeera is well documented. During the Iraq war of 2003, the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, accused the al-Jazeera of "consistently lying" and "working in concert with terrorists".
Secretary, Media Committee
The Muslim Council of Britain