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Jeremy Francis John Bowen (born 6 February 1960) is a Welsh journalist and television presenter. He was the BBC's Middle East correspondent based in Jerusalem between 1995 and 2000, and has been its Middle East Editor since 2005.
Bowen was born in Cardiff. He was educated at Cardiff High School, University College London (BA History) and the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. His father Gareth reported the 1966 Aberfan coal slurry disaster for the BBC, and became editor of news at Radio Wales.
He joined the BBC in 1984 and has been a war correspondent for much of his career, starting with El Salvador in 1989. He has reported from more than 70 different countries, predominantly in the Middle East and in the Balkans. He reported from Bosnia-Herzegovina during the Bosnian War there, and from Kosovo during the 1999 conflict, during which he was robbed at gunpoint by bandits.
Bowen has been under fire on assignment a number of times. In what he was later to describe as the pivotal moment of his life, a colleague and friend was killed on 23 May 2000 in Lebanon. This took place while Bowen was covering the Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) pullout from Lebanon: Bowen's car came under tank fire from the IDF and his "fixer" and driver was killed. Bowen and his cameraman escaped, but Bowen suffered post traumatic stress disorder and retreated from the frontline, moving to work in the studio as a presenter, hosting the daily news and entertainment morning show Breakfast with Sophie Raworth between 2000 and 2002. He was also a guest host on the satirical panel game Have I Got News for You, and presented the BBC's 2001 three-part series Son of God, an investigation into the life of Jesus. He also presented Moses in 2002, a similar documentary that chronicled the life of Moses.
Given the chance to cover the 2003 invasion of Iraq from Baghdad, a city he knew well, he turned it down. Nonetheless, Bowen subsequently returned to the field in March 2003, as special correspondent, during which time he covered the death of Pope John Paul II. He became the BBC's first Middle East Editor when the position was created in June 2005 after the 2004 Balen Report on the BBC's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to provide a broader perspective on wider Middle East issues and to add context to the reporting of events on the ground.
In April 2009, the Editorial Standards Committee of the BBC Trust published a report into three complaints, including one by CAMERA, brought against two news items involving Bowen. The complaints included 24 allegations of breaching BBC guidelines on accuracy and impartiality of which three were fully or partially upheld. The BBC Trust's censure was based on articles about Har Homa in the 1960s, how the Six-Day War affected the Middle East, and an article on the aftermath of the aforementioned war. Jeremy Bowen has voiced opposition to the censure, calling it a result of a "campaign group" who he called "the enemies of impartiality". Although there was no finding of anti-Israel bias against Bowen, Antony Lerman writing in The Guardian said that he should have used clearer language and been more precise in some aspects of the piece. Also, on a claim that was found to be lacking in accuracy because it was not properly sourced, the committee accepted that Bowen had been provided with the information by an authoritative source. A website article was amended and Bowen did not face any disciplinary measures.
In February 2011, Bowen became the first British journalist to interview Muammar Gaddafi since the start of the 2011 Libyan civil war against him and the government. As the conflict progressed at least two of Bowen's notebooks were either lost or stolen. One of these notebooks was subsequently found in the remains of a military convoy which the rebel force which attacked it say contained Gaddafi's son, Khamis. The notebook contained both Bowen's words and a number of notes in Arabic detailing military manoeuvres and a list of persons to be detained.
On 5 July 2013, while reporting for the BBC the protests in Egypt regarding the former president Morsi, he was shot in the head with shotgun pellets. He escaped without major injury and was taken away by his colleagues and bandaged up.
He is currently one of the few journalists inside Syria reporting on the crisis. In February 2015, he spoke with President Bashar al-Assad about the on-going Syrian conflict during an exclusive BBC interview.
Personal life and interests
- New York Television Festival 1995 - Best News Correspondent
- RTS Best Breaking News Report 1996 - Best Breaking News report, for his coverage of the assassination of Israel's President Yitzhak Rabin
- Sony Gold award for News Story of the Year on the arrest of Saddam Hussein
- Part of the BBC teams that won a BAFTA for their Kosovo coverage.
- International Emmy 2006 for BBC News', for its coverage, led by Bowen, of the 2006 Lebanon War
- 2012 Peace Through Media Award at the 8th annual International Media Awards in London.
- "Jeremy Bowen". Open Book. 11 November 2012. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- The Guardian, 17 June 2005, Bowen named BBC Middle East editor
- The Independent, 16 April 2009, Bowen 'breached rules on impartiality'
- The Independent, 11 December 2006, Jeremy Bowen: The man in the middle,.
- Jeremy Bowen, The Guardian, 14 June 2004, Now we're the target
- BBC Press Office, Jeremy Bowen, last updated September 2008
- BBC says unprovoked Israeli fire killed an employee in Lebanon. Retrieved 22 March 2009
- Son of God. IMDb. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
- "Highlights: the week ahead". The Daily Record (Glasgow: Trinity Mirror). 30 November 2002. ISSN 0956-8069. OCLC 614676258. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- On This Day: Jeremy Bowen.
- The Guardian, 11 February 2009, BBC report on Middle East conflict coverage
- BBC, 12 July 2005, Jeremy Bowen
- BBC Press Office, September 2008, Jeremy Bowen
- BBC reporter under fire in Lebanon. BBC. Updated 12 May 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2008.
- BBC Trust Editorial Standards Committee 03 March 2009
- Antony Lerman, The Guardian, 16 April 2009, What did Jeremy Bowen do wrong?
- Maggie Brown, The Guardian, 10 June 2010, Jeremy Bowen attacks BBC Trust for Gaza ruling
- BBC Trust partly upholds Jeremy Bowen complaints
- BBC News Online, 4 June 2007, How 1967 defined the Middle East
- "Col Gaddafi 'brushed off the international pressure'". BBC News. 1 March 2011.
- Andrew Gilligan (3 September 2011). "Khamis Gaddafi and the mystery of Jeremy Bowen's notebook". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- Jeremy Bowen (10 September 2011). "Was Jeremy Bowen's notebook stolen by Gaddafi's son?". BBC News. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- 6 July 2013 BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen is shot in Egypt standard.co.uk
- Wightwick, Abbie (28 October 2012). "BBC's Jeremy Bowen: Everything changes when you have children". WalesOnline (Cardiff).
- Edworthy, Sarah (22 December 2006). "Jeremy Bowen: I'm so happy when England lose at rugby". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 17 April 2009.
- International Media Awards - Winners 2012
- Jeremy Bowen, Six Days - How the 1967 war shaped the Middle East (2003). ISBN 0-7434-4969-X (pbk). History.
- Jeremy Bowen, War Stories (2006). ISBN 0-7432-3094-9 (hbk); ISBN 0-7434-4968-1 (pbk). Autobiography.
- Jeremy Bowen, The Arab Uprisings - The People Want the Fall of the Regime (2012). ISBN 978-0-85720-884-2 (hbk) ISBN 978-0-85720-885-9 (pbk)
|Middle East Editor: BBC News