BBC sanctions reporter who cried over Yasser Arafat

By Reuters


Cheshvan 24, 5766

LONDON - The British Broadcasting Corporation has upheld a complaint against one of its journalists who said in a radio report she cried when a dying Yasser Arafat was flown from the West Bank in 2004.

Barbara Plett made the remark in a dispatch for the From Our Own Correspondent program describing how she felt when a helicopter carrying Arafat, who was gravely ill, took off from his compound, according to a BBC Web site.

"When the helicopter carrying the frail old man rose from his ruined compound, I started to cry," she said in the 30 October, 2004 broadcast.

Arafat died at a French military hospital in Paris on November 11, 2004, aged 75.

The BBC Governors' Program Complaints Committee initially cleared Plett after hundreds of listeners complained but upheld part of an appeal and said she "breached the requirements of due impartiality."

The complaint considered by the committee claimed this "tearful eulogy" would not be matched by a BBC report extolling Ariel Sharon.

The BBC director of news Helen Boaden later apologised for what she described as "an editorial misjudgment."