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The Vote

Should the BBC and Sky News allow the Gaza humanitarian broadcast to be shown?

Published on February 6th 2009.

The Vote
Yes: - 56%
No: - 44%

EVEN the Arab media are getting in touch with us now. We got this on Saturday from Al Jazeera about the UK Disaster’s Emergency Commitee humanitarian broadcast seeking charitable help for the victims of the recent conflict in Gaza.

‘Al Jazeera English has pledged to run public service announcements in UK prime time on Al Jazeera English at no cost in support of the appeal of the UK Disaster’s Emergency Commitee. The announcements will begin running on Monday January 26. The appeal will be broadcast to UK citizens both in the UK and across the world with Al Jazeera English’s global reach to over 130 million households.’

As well as a heartfelt desire to the do the right thing (we trust) this was clearly a dig at the BBC who, unlike ITV and other broadcasters, had decided not to show the appeal on behalf of British charities for the victims of the recent Gaza conflict. Although they have since been joined in the boycott by Sky News.

Both organisations say it would compromise their editorial integrity, and they’re unsure if the money won’t end up in the wrong hands. In other words, they worried that the charitable relief for all those sick, injured and dispossessed innocents might be used in one form or another to purchase more rockets for Hamas to chuck into Israel. Or to line the pockets of corrupt officials.

Tony Benn, still one of the most lucid thinkers around, said this was nonsense. The real reason was that Israel was leaning all over them and the BBC is kowtowing to the latter.

This is, of course, denied.

Yet, do the BBC and Sky not realise that by their refusal to show the broadcast that they are, ironically, putting big questions on their boast of impartiality?

What about relief broadcasts for Darfur and other hideous areas of hardship and grief in the world? Surely similar doubts must exist there if they do in this situation, certainly with regard to where funds and relief products may end up and who ends up profiting.

As the chief executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee, Brendan Gormley said: “We launched the Gaza Crisis Appeal as the devastation wrought in the Gazan territory was so huge. DEC agencies have a humanitarian mandate and there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza today. Political solutions are for others to resolve, but what is of major concern to us all is that many innocent people have been affected by the situation – and it is them that we seek to help.”

So this is about aid to the thousands who were left homeless or injured by the conflict. Nothing else, and in that it is no different from any other emergency appeal anywhere else.

Then again maybe the British media should be careful. Because this is a conflict different from others, if not in the horrors suffered by a civilian population but in terms of politics.

After all the Palestine/Israeli crisis is the most dismal of long-term global conflicts and the single largest destabilising force on the planet.

It has a proven track record of making everybody lose impartiality. Hamas rockets, bad, Isreali aggression, bad, right of Isreal to exist, absolutely, right of the Palestine’s to have their own state with a functioning economy, absolutely.

It’s also attracted language, on both sides, which has been grotesque.

Best then for the BBC and Sky to step back and say, no, all we can do is report. Maintain our record of even-handedness.

But are they right to do so? Vote on the Homepage.

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Gaza GhettoJanuary 26th 2009.

I see from the above poll results that Mrs. Ellman MP and her fellow apologists for mass-murder are hammering their keyboards repeatedly... probably keeping their kids up all night doing it too.

UncleBeebJanuary 26th 2009.

The fuss kicked up by the BBC's decision has given far more publicity to the need for cash than had they merely broadcast the appeal. It has become so political now the BBCs refusal makes even more sense now. There's nothing to sop people giving money without the appeal seeing as we all know about the appeal. And did you see the protest outside BBC hq - made up mostly of stop the war campaigners. Its about time we all grew up. Thank God for the BBC.

OonaghJanuary 26th 2009.

It's interesting that the BBC's appeal in the wake of the crisis in Darfur is cited as precedent because they were censured by the broadcasting watchdog after that appeal for compromising their impartiality.

stanley dockJanuary 26th 2009.

this impartiality doesn't run to ceefax, t'other day TWO people died one was an israeli the other...

buskinJanuary 26th 2009.

It is totally impossible to have the BBC or SKY allow the slightest hint of criticism against Israel, as they are controlled by the Jewish lobby. They are owned, and infiltrated with like minded concentration camp overseer's.After all we are only talking about the Palestinians, who are deigned to be the 'UNTER MENSCH' of the middle east, and who need to be removed as the 'Jews' require 'LEBENSRAUM', they are only following orders, as Adolf, taught them.But to Quote Adolf, he said...''We could have killed all the Jews, but left some alive, so that future generations could understand why we did it''.

highly politicalJanuary 26th 2009.

remarks about the government on that awful 'One Show'. (Ironically it was about pensioners' welfare, a bit of a cheek when you consider how hard her mother tried to kill them all off.)

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