Hundreds protest against 'BBC pro-Israel bias' of Gaza coverage in cities across the UK

The broadcaster has denied anti-Palestinian coverage of the 'complex' conflict

Lizzie Dearden
Wednesday 16 July 2014 18:47
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Palestinian and pro-Palestinian demonstrators assemble at the BBC TV Centre in London
Palestinian and pro-Palestinian demonstrators assemble at the BBC TV Centre in London

Hundreds of people have protested against the BBC’s coverage of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Demonstrations in London, Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool took issue with alleged “bias” towards Israel but the broadcaster has also received complaints that it favours the Palestinians.

More than 3,700 people signed up on Facebook to join the demonstration at Media City in Manchester on Saturday and similar events have also drawn crowds outside the BBC’s London headquarters.

On Tuesday, protesters presented an open letter from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and other groups to the Director General outside Broadcasting House.

It claimed news coverage was “devoid of context or background” about the previous Israeli occupation of Gaza.

“We would like to remind you that Gaza has no army, air force, or navy, while Israel possess one of the strongest militaries in the world,” it continued.

“When you portray the occupier as the victim, and the occupied as the aggressor, we would like to remind you that resistance to occupation is a right under international law.”

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed since the start of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge earlier this month.

The UN estimates that 77 per cent of those killed have been civilians, including many children, but Israel has blamed Hamas for allegedly concealing rocket launchers and military equipment in residential buildings, schools and mosques.

In Liverpool, protesters gathered outside the BBC Radio Merseyside on Tuesday and in Manchester, a “Stop the Bombing of Gaza” event was held.

A vigil in memory of Palestinian casualties was held in Newcastle and numerous protests calling for an immediate ceasefire from the Israeli military have been held in recent weeks across the UK.

According to the Stop the War Coalition, more demonstrations against BBC coverage and the conflict in general are planned over the coming days in Birmingham, Glasgow, London and Worcester.

A BBC News spokesman said the organisation was reporting “widely and extensively across TV, radio and online, on many different aspects of this ongoing and complex conflict”.

“Our role is to explain what is happening and why, and we endeavour to reflect a range of voices, amid deeply held views,” he added.

"We are committed to continuing to report and analyse sometimes fast moving events in an accurate, fair and balanced way."

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