Crossbench peer Ruth Deech has complained to the BBC over its “inaccurate” and “biased” reporting of the sacking of Bristol’s Prof David Miller.
Miller was finally sacked by Bristol University last week after a long, drawn-out disciplinary process, sparked after he accused the Jewish Society of being “pawns” of a “violent, racist foreign regime,” and called for an “end to Zionism,” among other comments.
The inflammatory tirade led to Jewish students reporting a surge in abuse sent to them as a result of the academic’s comments.
But in reporting the incident, the BBC claimed in a headline that Miller had been fired over comments relating to Israel.
Speaking on the Jewish News podcast, Baroness Deech said: “The headlines that the BBC and other press gave the incident are almost as damaging.
“The BBC reported it as ‘Professor sacked for talking about Israel’. Now that’s very inaccurate and biased because it gives the impression that you can’t talk about Israel and that free speech is under attack.
“And that’s simply not what he was dismissed for, even by the university’s own standards.”
The peer had also made a separate complaint to another media organisation over its media coverage, and was waiting to see the outcome of the BBC complaint, she said.
Miller has reportedly vowed to fight his sacking, and still has an internal right of appeal.
In a statement last week, the university claimed an independent report from an unnamed QC found that his comments were not unlawful, but also said he “did not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “The headline was an accurate summary of the decision taken by the university and did not misrepresent the reasons given.”
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