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?

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So is it OK for political pressure to be applied to get the BBC to change an editorial decision, provided there’s a cross-party consensus to do so?

by Anonymous on January 24, 2009 at 8:03 pm. Reply #

I totally agree with Mr. Foster. This is unbelievable for a public broadcaster to behave this way. In fact they haven’t even bothered to add this important item to their Have Your Say feature…. See my comments below that I want to post onto their website.

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This is a disgusting and ridiculous decision by the BBC. I have just watched Tony Benn’s interview and he is absolutely right – the BBC is caving in to Israel’s pressure and nothing else – forget about the indefensible excuse of impartiality, this is just a smokes screen. I would be interested to find out about the background of the decision makers. Also, how quickly did the BBC forget that one of its journalists was released by Hamas Gaza. I am not a supporter of Hamas – just a human being concerned about the Gaza humanitarian disaster. Can you imagine if this was happening in Israel what the reaction would have been? I am going to protest in my own simple way – take off the BBC as my homepage, watch less of BBC programmes including the news, delay in paying my TV license, etc…This will not be published – shame on you BBC!

by Don on January 24, 2009 at 8:47 pm. Reply #

To Complain

– telephone 03700 100222

– Web. http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

by David Morton on January 25, 2009 at 9:15 am. Reply #

Interesting that Sky News has confirmed its earlier decision not to show the appeal.

Are they going to be castigated by the Lib Dem front bench as well?

by Anonymous on January 26, 2009 at 12:13 pm. Reply #

Are there any comparable examples where the DEC has run an advert for the victims on just one side of a war which still isn’t over.

I hold Israel in very low esteem for their actions. Their “denials” over the use of white phosphorous are pretty thin and resemble their equally vague denials over their nuclear capability.

However I’m not sure a one-sided charity appeal is appropriate at this point.

by Hywel on January 27, 2009 at 12:28 am. Reply #

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