Charities urge BBC to launch emergency appeal for victims of Syria's war

Corporation fears lack of public sympathy for plight of millions may hurt fundraising efforts

Broadcasters including the BBC are under increasing pressure to allow an emergency appeal for victims of Syria's civil war.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella fundraising body for Britain's leading humanitarian organisations, has formally approached the BBC about airing a nationwide appeal which could raise tens of millions of pounds for efforts to help nearly four million people caught up in the conflict. About 70,000 people are thought to have died.

Key charities including Islamic Relief and Oxfam are convinced of the need to combine fundraising efforts into a DEC appeal as the fighting across Syria reaches a deadlock and refugees both inside the country and across its borders struggle for accommodation and basic needs.

The Red Cross has also spoken of an urgent need to increase the aid operation inside Syria.

Broadcasters would play a vital role in disseminating the DEC's message about the humanitarian situation in Syria, but The Independent understands that discussions are continuing between NGOs and the networks about whether key criteria for launching an appeal have been met.

Concern has been raised about whether the appeal would be successful, and about the difficulty of obtaining footage to show the perilous conditions faced by the estimated two million people trapped inside Syria, where journalists have been regularly targeted.

With media coverage often focused on the military confrontation or diplomatic failures, there is debate within the DEC about whether the third of three criteria for an appeal – the need to prove existing or likely "public sympathy for the humanitarian situation" – has been fulfilled.

The BBC confirmed tonight that it had received a request from the DEC to air an appeal and that the matter was under consideration. A spokeswoman said: "The BBC has now received a formal request to broadcast a DEC appeal. We are looking at the details and will be making a decision shortly."

One NGO source said: "The situation with the appeal is ongoing. Some reservations have been expressed by broadcasters but also within some charities about whether everything is in place to get this right."

DEC appeals have often been highly successful, raising huge sums for emergency relief operations. The last appeal, in 2011 for the crisis in east Africa, raised £79m while the 2005 appeal following the Asian tsunami raised £372m.

But they have also previously proved controversial for broadcasters, which have to balance ongoing coverage of the conflicts behind many humanitarian disasters with their ability to elicit large numbers of donations by providing air time for charities.

The BBC and Sky were criticised in 2009 when they refused to broadcast a DEC appeal during Israel's military operation against Gaza. They said the appeal risked undermining public confidence in their impartiality. Other broadcasters, including Channel 4 and ITV, did air the appeal.

The BBC has also refused to broadcast other appeals, including for victims of the Israel Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon in 2006.

The violence convulsing Syria has claimed 70,000 lives and led to more than 750,000 fleeing to neighbouring countries, where many are crowded into emergency accommodation. Inside the country, millions are facing hunger, medicine shortages and the privations of a harsh winter.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Life and Style
tech
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Rock to play DC character in superhero film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# .Net Developer

£23000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: C# .Net Develop re...

Electronics Design Engineer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: My client are l...

Senior BI Engineer (BI/MI, Data Mining)

£60000 - £65000 per annum + Bonus & Benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior BI Enginee...

IT Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are seeking a teacher o...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor