THE BBC made a “mistake” in choosing to broadcast Israel’s defence of genocide charges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in full – but only show clips of South Africa’s submission arguing the opposite, a top official has said.

David Jordan, the director of editorial policy and standards at the BBC, told MPs on Westminster's Media Committee that the news team may have “done it differently” if they were covering the ICJ case again.

Jordan was asked to speak after Tim Davie, the BBC director-general, repeatedly declined to say whether he thought it had been fair for the corporation to broadcast the Israeli defence in full while South Africa’s counter-arguments were only shown in part.

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Labour MP Julie Elliott asked: “Do you think it was fair to have a tiny bit of the South African submission and then switch to the Post Office [inquiry] – which again, is a very, very important story – but then have hours and hours the next day of the other side’s [Israel’s] submission?

“Do you think that was fair?”

As Davie began talking about rolling news, Elliott pushed: “Do you think that was fair and impartial and balanced?”

The BBC director-general responded: “I think overall when you look at our coverage on the rulings, we've been in a reasonable position.”

Elliott then addressed her question to Jordan instead, saying: “David, do you think it was fair and impartial? The coverage of those two days of hearings I'm talking about, not the rest of the news.”

The BBC’s editorial policy director responded: “I think you've put your figure on something very important about what happened, because it only happened on our UK output.

“The international output covered the two sides of that conflict and of the presentations that were made to the ICJ. They covered them equally in our international coverage.

“In our UK coverage, because the hearing on the Post Office was being held at the same time, they made the editorial decision to go with the Post Office coverage rather than the other coverage, which, as you could tell, was a very difficult decision to make.

“When they looked at it, when news looked at it in retrospect, they did think that perhaps they made a mistake in not making the two live coverage events similar or the same.”

Jordan went on: “So it was just about the live coverage on the news channel on those two days, which wasn't absolutely equivalent.

“And in this particular conflict, if you don't have absolute equivalence, as you know, it leads to people suspecting that you're doing something deliberately to be biased. That isn't the case.

“It was genuinely a difficult editorial decision about which hearing they went with.”

He added: “News have said that if they thought about it again, they might have done it differently.”

After the ICJ hearings from South Africa and Israel in January, the top court issued an order telling Israel to take all measures within its power to prevent genocide.

It also said the case for genocide happening in Palestine was “plausible”.