BBC faces protest for blocking Gaza appeal

Nicky Shaw
Saturday 24 January 2009 01:00
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Hundreds of protesters are expected to gather outside Broadcasting House in London today after the BBC defended its decision not to broadcast a public appeal to raise funds for Gaza.

The corporation said the decision was taken with other broadcasters not to show the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) crisis appeal because of impartiality concerns. There were also doubts about the delivery of aid in such a volatile situation, the BBC said.

It said in a statement: "Along with other broadcasters, the BBC has decided not to broadcast the DEC's public appeal to raise funds for Gaza.

"The BBC decision was made because of questions about the delivery of aid in a volatile situation and to avoid any risk of compromising public confidence in the BBC's impartiality in the context of an ongoing news story."

The DEC has stressed that its aid agencies are non-political and working on the basis of humanitarian need. It is an umbrella organisation which includes Action Aid, British Red Cross, Cafod, Care International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision. Brendan Gormley, DEC's chief executive, said: "We are disappointed our message about the human suffering in Gaza and the need for aid is not reaching the public.

An ITV spokesman said: "The DEC did ask broadcasters to support the appeal. The broadcasters... were unable to reach the consensus necessary for an appeal."

The Stop the War Coalition has organised the protest at Broadcasting House, urging those attending to take children's dolls, wrapped in white shrouds.

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