Fury over gay slurs on BBC Arabic service: Channel repeatedly broadcast homophobic comments, probe reveals
- BBC repeatedly broadcast homophobic slurs on an Arabic language programme
- Campaigners have now called for an official probe into the shocking material
- Remarks were aired on the licence fee payer-funded BBC News Arabic channel
The BBC has repeatedly broadcast horrific homophobic slurs on an Arabic language programme, a Daily Mail investigation has revealed.
Campaigners have called for an official probe into the shocking material which they say breaches broadcasting regulations and may even be illegal.
Comments from viewers shared without criticism suggest coronavirus is a result of homosexuality, call for gay men to be jailed for life and brand the rainbow flag a ‘sign of moral decline’.
The offensive remarks have been aired on the licence fee payer-funded BBC News Arabic channel, which has 42million viewers worldwide and can be seen online in the UK.
The offensive remarks have been aired on the licence fee payer-funded BBC News Arabic channel. (Stock image)
Last night, veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell warned: ‘They are fuelling anti-LGBT+ prejudice across the Arab world and contributing to the toxic hate that leads to LGBTs living in fear of discrimination and violent attack.’
All the material appeared on BBC Trending, a daily programme produced at Broadcasting House in London which features viewers’ comments on news stories.
One episode in January last year covered the arrest of ‘two homosexuals’ in Mauritania after a video of a birthday party in which they had appeared had gone viral online.
One viewer’s tweet, read out by the presenter, said: ‘If it was up to me I would have sentenced those two for life in prison.’
Another said: ‘The deviant should be put under the care of a psychiatrist,’ while a third commented: ‘The residents of the neighbourhood where this moral catastrophe happened are to blame.’
The next month BBC Trending addressed the story of two men in Algeria being arrested after a video of a ‘homosexual wedding’ had been spread on social media.
Comments from viewers shared without criticism suggest coronavirus is a result of homosexuality, call for gay men to be jailed for life and brand the rainbow flag a ‘sign of moral decline’. (Stock image)
One viewer’s post read out by the presenter said: ‘Covid-19 entered Algeria out of resentment towards the residents of the country.’
Another said: ‘A law must be adopted to combat this phenomenon.’
In June, the show reported how members of the Bahrain parliament who objected to the US Embassy raising the rainbow flag for Pride month had branded homosexuals ‘perverts’.
Every tweet criticised the raising of the flag, with one calling it ‘a form of gentle war which the West uses against Islam’. Another labelled it ‘a sign of heinous moral decline’.
Mr Tatchell added: ‘At taxpayers’ expense, BBC Arabic is giving a platform to homophobic hate speech.
‘Its presenters are publicising sickening denunciations of LGBT+ people, without any dissent or criticism. Their reports are unbalanced and collude with bigotry.’
The programmes appear to breach the BBC Charter, which states its foreign news services should ‘reflect the United Kingdom, its culture and values to the world’.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘These broadcasts did not meet our editorial standards and we apologise to our viewers.
‘The format of BBC Trending is to reflect debate across the Arab world and examine opposing views on social media. While it is appropriate that we reflect a range of views and debate in our coverage, we should have challenged some of them robustly or provided context around them.
‘On these occasions we failed to do this and should not have broadcast the tweets in full. We will be implementing further staff training with a focus on LGBTQ coverage.’