Foster brands BBC "disgraceful" for refusal to air charity appeal for Gaza

by Stephen Tall on January 24, 2009

The BBC reports on the latest developments in the ongoing row over the Corporation’s decision not to screen an appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee for Gaza because it does not want to compromise its commitment to impartiality:

ITV, Channel 4 and Five are to show a charity appeal for Gaza amid a row over the BBC’s decision not to run the film. Ministers urged the BBC to recognise “immense human suffering” and show the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal. … Protesters gathered outside the BBC’s Broadcasting House in central London on Saturday, and chants of “BBC, shame on you” were heard as a petition was handed in to the corporation.

Those of you who listened to this morning’s BBC Radio 4 Today Programme may have heard the rather excruciating defence put forward by the BBC’s chief operating officer Caroline Thomson – if you didn’t you can relive it here: “the most important thing the BBC can do for the people who are suffering is carry on reporting it”. It was met with rather short shrift by the Lib Dems:

Liberal Democrat media spokesman Don Foster said the BBC’s “disgraceful” decision must be reversed. “It is unbelievable that the BBC claims to know better than either the government or the 12 major charities that form the DEC about whether aid can get through,” he added.

How long before the BBC U-turns, and gives the DEC its air-time?