BBC's Jeremy Bowen raging over 'malicious' claims of faking Ukraine war report

BBC international editor Jeremy Bowen has hit back at claims that he “faked” being on the frontline during a report in March which saw the presenter covering news of Ukrainians fleeing the country after Russia invaded in February. The claim stated: “BBC’s Jeremy Bowen, pretends to be the frontline, whilst a woman looks on, seemingly bemused”. The image shared alongside the statement shows Mr Bowen lying on the ground as he speaks to the camera using a microphone whilst wearing a helmet and protection vest.

The allegation received more than 73,000 likes on Twitter with some agreeing with the statement. 

But the journalist has hit back at the claims, writing on his Twitter account: “This malicious tweet and others like it allege that I faked a piece to camera in Ukraine in March. The allegations are utterly false, #fakenews. Insult me if you want. Don’t insult thousands of civilians fleeing over Irpin bridge into Kyiv from Russian shelling and war crimes.”

Another tweet of the same image claimed that the photo “sums the fake BBC media up” because the woman in the background was standing with a shopping bag rather than hiding from the attack.

Mr Bowen’s full report was published on March 6, not long after Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine as Europe watched on in horror. 

The video report for the BBC documented civilians fleeing the city of Irpin, a northwestern Kyiv suburb, amid Russian firing.

In the video, explosions can be heard in the background, with smoke and flames also visible as Mr Bowen reported on the latest news.

The presenter reported that civilians were escaping near “what’s left of a bridge that was blown to slow down the Russians if they take Irpin.”

The news broadcast showed Ukrainians carrying their belongings, including in suitcases, totes and plastic shopping bags.

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Mr Bowen told viewers: “There’s a fair amount of incoming fire coming into this now, artillery fire. There are loads of civilians around. This is the edge of the town that the Russians have got to.”

The woman in the background who disputers said looked “bemused” was later seen crouching behind a piece of debris as firing was heard in the distance.

She then rises and continues to walk, with the bag likely containing some of her belongings as locals fleed amid the invasion.

But some are still insisting the journalist faked the broadcast, with user @AlbanJones2 responding: “So why are you lying down in a helmet and flak vest while that woman looks on carrying her shopping? Looks fake to me.”

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User @ltoxido added: “This is just one of many propaganda being spread by western journalist. This is clearly a propaganda, you can defend it from now till next year but it remains a propaganda! You tried your best to avoid talking about the lady as though you haven’t seen her.”

But others leapt to the journalist’s defence, with user @Sommars11 responding to the above tweet: “Are you stpid? Watch the full clip of the video. The woman is taking cover just like everybody else just a few moments earlier and then stands up and ponders where to go next. People died in this attack.”

Mr Bowen’s tweet has received over 7,000 likes as debate sparks in the comments over whether or not the broadcast was “fake”.

Broadcasters headed to Ukraine to cover the was following the invasion on February 24.

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