The BBC’s Gaza Gaffe
Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 25th January, 2009
The BBC’s outrageous decision to bar the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)* from broadcasting an Appeal for the people of Gaza is another nail in the coffin of the organisation’s credibiity and international standing. Moreover, it breaches the corporation’s own guidelines about emergency appeals, namely:
1) the disaster must be on such a scale and of such emergency as to call for swift international humanitarian assistance;
2) the DEC agencies (or some of them) must be in a position to provide effective and swift humanitarian assistance at a scale to justify a national appeal.
3) there must be sufficient public awareness, and sympathy for the humanitarian situation as to give reasonable grounds for concluding that a public Appeal would be successful.
Having myself been on a London march in which tens of thousands of people were calling for an end to the recent bloody onslaught on Gaza, I have no doubt of the strength of public opinion regarding the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza now that hostilities have ended. The BBC management’s excuse that somehow there would be a conflict of interest because of the graphic images of dead and wounded children and other victims shown as recent news itelms is, frankly, bollocks. I first became concerned about international affairs and humanitarian fundraising during the Biafra conflict in the late 1960s, when TV film footage of starving children there had a powerful role in raising public awareness in Britain and boosting funds sent to charities.
The BBC should immediately reverse its ignoble decision not to screen the DEC Appeal for Gaza and the people within the Corporation who were ultimately responsible should seriously consider resigning, if the BBC is to salvage its ever more battered reputation.
Polite messages of protest to the BBC can be sent via the link below.
* The Disasters Emergency Committee groups the 13 largest overseas aid agencies in Britain, such as the British Red Cross, Christian Aid and Oxfam