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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 February, 2005, 12:45 GMT
BBC apologises over Iraqi figures
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The figures were given to the Panorama programme
The BBC has apologised for incorrectly broadcasting figures which suggested more Iraqi civilians had been killed by coalition and Iraqi forces than by insurgents.

The information was based on figures given by the Iraqi Ministry of Health to the BBC's Panorama programme. The statistics concerned the number of people killed in conflict-related violence in the second half of 2004.

The figures said that 3,274 people had died in that period, 2,041 of them as the result of "military operations".

The other 1,233 deaths were attributed to "terrorist operations".

The BBC reported the figures as suggesting that coalition and Iraqi forces could be responsible for up to 60% of conflict-related civilian deaths in Iraq.

Changes made

However, the Iraqi Ministry of Health then clarified that the figures included not just civilians, but also insurgents and Iraqi security forces. And it said that the phrase "military operations" referred to Iraqis killed by insurgents as well as coalition or Iraqi forces.

The ministry said the BBC had misinterpreted the figures.

The figures were not used in John Simpson's report on Sunday's Panorama programme, as it was still being prepared for broadcast and changes were made. However, the statistics were given out in other news reports.

"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'," said the BBC in a statement.

"The BBC regrets mistakes in its initial published and broadcast reports."




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