BBC blunder: Viewer spots error during six o’clock news segment

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Four weeks after the devastating explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, which left at least 190 people dead, the country is still reeling in the aftermath of the disaster. The cause was the detonation of 2,570 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.

The ammonium nitrate had reportedly been stored unsafely in a warehouse at the capital’s port of six years.

It is believed the explosion caused as much as £3.4bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure.

The previous Lebanese government resigned following widespread anger over the blast, which left 6,000 people injured.

French President Emmanuel Macron has been visiting Lebanon following the explosion to press the country’s leaders to form a government as soon as possible.

France and Lebanon have close ties after the country came under French control 100 years ago following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War One.

Lebanon declared its independence in 1943.

However, the BBC has faced backlash online after referring to the country as a former French colony, despite it being a former French protectorate.

Anne-Elisabeth Moutet tweeted: “Again the Beeb calls Lebanon a ‘former French colony’.

“It never was, it was an Ottoman colony.

“After WW1, the League of Nations gave France a Mandate to administer Syria and Lebanon in 1920.

“By 1926, the French governor had set up the Lebanese Republic, which was proclaimed in 1926.”

Viktor Toth also tweeted: “I am surprised by the number of supposedly educated people that I encounter who do not understand that these League of Nations mandates between the two wars were quite distinct from colonial rule.”

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Alan Sked also lashed out at the BBC and said: “Don’t expect accuracy from the BBC.

“You are lucky it covers anything to do with French foreign policy.

“The outside world rarely gets a mention.”

A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War 1.

The mandate was established under Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations and entered into force in 1919.

The Mandate for Syria and Lebanon was supposed to differ from colonialism with the governing country intended to act as a trustee until the inhabitants were considered eligible for self-government.

Following the explosion, Mr Macron has emerged as the only global heavyweight to have offered Lebanon leaders a path to safety.

In an interview with Politico this week, Mr Macron said he is working to avoid a political collapse in the country.

He said: “It’s the last chance for this system.

“It’s a risky bet I’m making, I am aware of it.

“I am putting the only thing I have on the table: my political capital.” has approached BBC for a comment.

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