Monday, January 26, 2009

DEC Gaza Crisis Appeal.

This is the appeal for the children of Gaza which the BBC refuse to air in case it in some way is seen to compromise their impartiality.

Anyone who reads here regularly will know that I have actually been sympathetic to the BBC and the constant charges of being anti-Israeli which are levelled against them simply for reporting the news.

However, having at last seen the appeal, I was filled with fury at Mark Thompson's decision.

The appeal makes very clear that this is not about "the rights and wrongs of the conflict, these people simply need your help".

There are children in Gaza who are suffering. They are homeless and hungry. You don't have to favour either side to realise that children shouldn't be caught up in this shit.

Give as much as your conscience dictates. Do so here.


The BBC, whilst still refusing to budge on this, are becoming increasingly isolated:

More than 110 MPs had signed an early day motion urging the corporation to reverse its decision. The BBC is also facing a growing revolt from its journalists, who have been told they could be sacked if they speak out on the issue.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said after last night's broadcast that it was "inclined not to comment", but added: "There is no doubt that any appeal which simply seeks to raise money for innocent civilians should be applauded."

There have now been over 15,500 complaints over Mark Thompson's decision not to air this appeal, the first time the BBC have decided not to air a DEC appeal in the Disaster Emergency Committee's 46 year history.

Shortly before the appeal aired, in London protesters burned their TV licences in front of a line of police outside the BBC's Broadcasting House.

The public have made it very clear just how angry they are with this ludicrous stance the BBC have adopted.

One emerging issue is Thompson's claim that the BBC's stance on humanitarian appeals was "not a new policy" and was consistent with previous such emergencies. Yesterday, he said the BBC had always taken a strong stance on stories "as complex and contentious as Gaza".

However, the BBC broadcast DEC appeals after the 1999 Kosovo war and 1990 Gulf conflict. In 1968 it broadcast an appeal for victims of the Vietnam war. Over the last two years it has broadcast appeals for aid for crises in Burma, Bangladesh, Sudan, Chad and the Congo. Neither has it previously shunned humanitarian appeals in the Middle East. The second DEC appeal ever to be broadcast on the BBC, in June 1967, was a film seeking help for Palestinian and Syrian refugees displaced by the Six Day War. In 1982, the BBC helped raise £1m by broadcasting a DEC appeal for victims of Israel's invasion of Lebanon.

There is simply no coherence to this stance and no truth whatsoever in the claim that the BBC traditionally avoid such subjects for fear of appearing to compromise their impartiality.

This is simply an act of utter cowardice on Thompson's part.

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