January 23, 2009
BBC refuses airtime to Gaza aid appeal
01.23.2009 | The Guardian
By Jenny Percival
The BBC has refused to broadcast a national humanitarian appeal for Gaza, leaving aid agencies with a potential shortfall of millions of pounds in donations.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group for 13 aid charities, launched its appeal yesterday saying the devastation in Gaza was “so huge British aid agencies were compelled to act”.
But the BBC made a rare breach of an agreement dating to 1963, saying it would not give free airtime to the appeal. Other broadcasters followed suit. Previously, broadcasters had agreed on the video and script to be used with the DEC, to be shown after primetime news bulletins.
The BBC, which has been criticised in the past over alleged bias in its coverage of the Middle East, said it did not want to risk public confidence in its impartiality. A BBC spokesperson said: “The decision was made because of question marks about the delivery of aid in a volatile situation and also to avoid any risk of compromising public confidence in the BBC’s impartiality in the context of [a] news story.”
The DEC’s chief executive, Brendan Gormley, said: “We are totally apolitical … this appeal is a response to humanitarian principles. The BBC seems to be confusing impartiality with equal airtime.”
DEC appeals have recently raised £10m for the Congo and £18m for Burma.
An ITV spokesman said the broadcasters, after assessing the DEC’s needs, had been unable “to reach a consensus necessary for an appeal”.
Sky said: “By convention, if all broadcasters do not carry the appeal, then none do. The decision was effectively made for us.”
Activist Super-glued inside BBC HQ
12.31.2008 | YouTube.com
Protesters super-glued themselves to glass security gates inside BBC.They protested the lack of balanced reporting of the Israeli bombings on Gaza. http://www.undercurrents.org