The BBC has recently offered additional support to its staff who have been facing abuse, attacks, and a decline in their mental health due to the corporation’s coverage of the Israel-Gaza conflict.
Just last week, the BBC’s London headquarters was vandalized with red paint by a pro-Palestinian protest group. The group accused the broadcaster of having “blood on its hands” over its coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
In an email sent to all staff members working in BBC News and Current Affairs, Chief Operating Officer Sam Taylor shared information about the support available for individuals and teams who have been exposed to distressing content, footage, and testimony from the region.
Taylor wrote, “Having had experience working on upsetting news stories throughout the years, I understand that one’s mental state can change, and sometimes additional support or a conversation is needed.”
In addition to the existing support sessions and resources, the BBC’s Safety and Mental Health specialists are now offering more targeted support where needed. Various resources have been made available for the staff:
- Individual trauma support
- Team sessions on distressing content, with professional support
- Further trauma awareness sessions
- Online guidance and support
- Reporting abuse
Over the past two weeks, the BBC and its staff have faced increasing pressure and criticism for their coverage of the conflict in the Middle East. Some staff members have even reported receiving personal abuse.
One BBC insider described the situation as “really stressful,” emphasizing the additional “rage” directed towards the BBC’s coverage. Reporting on the conflict can be emotionally draining on its own, but with the added pressure from critics, it becomes even more challenging.
To address some concerns, the BBC has decided to reduce its use of the term “militants” when referring to Hamas. However, the broadcaster has been defending its choice of not using the word “terrorists” to describe the organization.
BBC Director-General Tim Davie will attend Parliament this week to answer questions from Members of Parliament regarding the corporation’s coverage of the Israel-Gaza conflict.