BBC Admits Errors about Iraq Deaths and Injuries

In a very discreet statement, Panorama, the BBC’s “flagship” program, expresses regret for misconstruing Iraq war figures. Essentially, when it got hold of statistics showing that 2,041 deaths and 8,542 injuries in the past six months had resulted from “military operations,” it automatically blamed them on “actions by the Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces.” Yet:

Iraq Health Ministry Figures

Today, the Iraqi Ministry of Health has issued a statement clarifying matters that were the subject of several conversations with the BBC before the report was published, and denying that this conclusion can be drawn from the figures relating to military operations.

It states that those recorded as killed in military action included Iraqis killed by terrorists, not only those killed by Coalition forces or Iraqi security forces; and that those recorded as killed in military action included terrorists themselves, and Iraqi security forces.

The BBC regrets mistakes in its published and broadcast reports yesterday.

I can’t say that I’m entirely surprised about the errors. But I can say that I’m encouraged to see Iraqi officials move swiftly to set the record straight. It shows that they’re very much aware of the importance of accurately portraying the situation on the ground; insurgents, after all, can use any hint of success to recruit new members. Moreover, it suggests that the government is learning to deal with the media — a crucial development for the long term, since democracy requires a healthy relationship between state and press. In this light, it’s good to note the correction just as Iraqis cast their historic votes.

FILED UNDER: Democracy, Iraq War, Media, , ,
Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. Just Me says:

    Yes, but how much do you want to bet that anti war people keep quoting the original bbc numbers?