Mark Urban

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Mark Urban is the BBC Newsnight's diplomatic editor. Urban also appears often on BBC programs dealing with military history -- presented as an expert.

Mark Urban

From the BBC Newsnight biography:

Mark Urban is Newsnight's Diplomatic Editor. He came to the programme after being Middle East Correspondent for BBC News, a general reporter for Newsnight and Defence Correspondent of The Independent newspaper. Before that he also worked behind the camera as an assistant producer on various programmes. Mark's years on Newsnight have taken him to many of the biggest foreign news stories of the past decade: the Gulf War; 1991 Coup in Moscow; 1993 events in Moscow; Bosnian war; Middle East peace process; Russian as well as Israeli elections and the conflict in Kosovo. He is the author of several books including "Big Boys' Rules: The Secret Struggle Against the IRA" and "UK Eyes Alpha: The Inside Story of British Intelligence". He was born in London and is a graduate of the London School of Economics. Mark also served in the Army - for nine months as a regular officer and four years in the Territorials.

Critical Assessment

Mark Urban, Henry Jackson Society presentation, House of Commons, 30 October 2008

John Pilger writes about Mark Urban[1]

Mark Urban's deeply embedded, nineteenth century view of the benign intentions of the invaders is laughable in the blackest, most profane sense.

Media Lens has issued a series of analysis of Mark Urban's reportage, and finds him usually uncritically reporting American military actions. Urban always attributes the benign motives to US military actions in Iraq, i.e., the same purported rationale proffered by American military spokespersons. On the other hand, the groups causing "mayhem" are usually "Al Qaeda" despite the fact that the overwhelming evidence that they comprise a small fraction of the Iraqi resistance; Sunni resistance fighter are the preponderant resistance force. Urban does mention the Iraqi resistance, but in general refers to the terrorists that the American are risking themselves to confront.[2][3]

Faisal Bodi writes:

Analyse the reports of Newsnight's Mark Urban, for whom "balance" means giving Israeli politicians and generals the opportunity to excuse the levelling of Palestinian homes as a "breakdown in communication" between army and government. Or look at the coverage of Israel's attack last month on a Syrian radar installation, which occasioned a formal complaint by an Arab friend because a BBC news report failed to counter the two Israeli voices with even one Syrian.[4]

Contact, References and Resources





Media Lens Analysis

  • [Illegal, Immoral, Unwinnable - A British Army Officer Replies to Mark Urban], 1 June 2007.


  1. The Surge - Here to Help: The BBC's Mark Urban and The Independent's Adrian Hamilton On Iraq], 22 May 2007.
  2. Media Lens, ibid.
  3. Newsnight Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban Responds, 31 May 2007.
  4. Faisal Bodi, Why I was banned by the BBC, The Guardian, 21 May 2001.