January 24, 2009

23 January 2009 BBC Blocks Aid to Gaza Appeal

Posted in demonstration information, PSC Updates tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 12:38 am by Alexia





If the BBC was not tarnished enough by its coverage of Israel’s attack on Gaza — in the words of Tony Benn, “often looking like a propaganda wing of the Zionist lobby” — its decision yesterday to block an appeal for emergency aid to Gaza would be reason enough for making the BBC a focus of our demonstration on Saturday 24 January.

While the media is now saturated with reports showing the scale of Israel’s barbarism over the past three weeks and the humanitarian disaster it has created, and while the United Nations, the Red Cross and all the other aid organisations involved are saying that immediate emergency aid must be rushed to Gaza, the BBC has blocked a joint appeal by a wide range of organisations from being broadcast after all the main news programmes on every TV channel.

These emergency appeals to populations in desperate need of aid have been organised frequently in the past 48 years and not once in that time has one been blocked. It is agreed by all the channels that a decision to support an aid appeal must be unanimous among the broadcasters and so the BBC’s decision not to agree scuppered the whole aid appeal, which it is estimated would have raised at least £10 million — aid which would have been used immediately to help Palestinians in Gaza, now barely surviving in catastrophic conditions.

One in six buildings have been destroyed or badly damaged by Israel’s bombs and missiles, many dead are buried underneath and still being dug out, the country’s infrastructure has been destroyed, one million people have no electricity, half a million people have no access to clean running water, the hospitals are crammed with people who have suffered horrific injuries without enough basic medical supplies for them to get the treatment they need.

A spokesperson for the organisations which wanted to broadcast the prime time appeal, said, “Agencies are already providing food, drugs and blankets as well as delivering clean water. But we will soon reach the limit of what we can do, without more money.”

And the BBC’s response? “The decision was made because of question marks about the delivery of aid in a volatile situation and also to avoid any risk of compromising public confidence in the BBC’s impartiality in the context of news story.” This has nothing to do with “impartiality” – the appeal was for humanitarian aid to a devastated people. How can you be “impartial” about that? Either these people need the aid or they don’t.

We have seen throughout these weeks of barbarism how Israel’s spin machine has been indulged by the BBC in particular. We know, as the Guardian reported two weeks ago, that the BBC management instructed its journalists to enable this to happen. The result was Israeli spokespersons given frequent opportunity to justify mass slaughter, including the deaths of over 400 children.

Our demonstration on Saturday assembles outside BBC Broadcasting House.

To register our disgust at the BBC’s capitulation to Israel’s manipulation and intimidation of the media, we are asking protestors to bring children’s dolls, wrapped if possible in white shrouds, to be laid on the steps of the BBC, as a memorial to the hundreds of children who died and as an act of solidarity with the Paletinians in Gaza denied urgently needed aid because of BBC “impartiality”.

DEMONSTRATE FOR GAZA: SATURDAY 24 JANUARY END THE BLOCKADE: STOP ALL ARMS SALES BRING THE WAR CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE Assemble 2.00pm BBC Broadcasting House for rally Portland Place, London W1A 1AA Nearest tubes: Great Portland Street or Regents park. March starts at 3.00 pm. Ends with rally in Trafalgar Square 4.30 pm.


Instead of banning all arms trade with Israel and breaking all diplomatic relations, Brown has offered to send the British navy to help Israel tighten its blockade on Gaza.

MARCH ROUTE: Assemble and rally Portland Place, March to Regent Street, Piccadilly, Lower Regent Street, Trafalgar Square, Northumberland Avenue, Embankment, Parliament, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square (End rally)

Email office@stopwar.org.uk Tel: 020 7278 6694 Web: http://www.stopwar.org.uk



  1. jean edwards said,

    I have never felt so angry as I do now about the BBC refusing to have an appeal for help of those poor souls in Palastine, this has nothing to do with sides, rights or wrongs, people and CHILDREN are suffering greatly and shame on the BBC and its hidden agenda for not giving time to this appeal.

    The top brass can be very moral when it suits them but this has nothing to do with morality. I can guess what religon these moral people have and they should be ashamed of their collective decision not to broadcast this appeal.

    • Alexia said,

      sorry about the delay in getting this out – I’ve been sick with that cursed winter bug 😦

      The BBC is so interesting, we pay them amazing amounts of money each year but have no say at all in what they do.

      I had this response this morning from them re my email of complaint.

      Thank you for your e-mail.

      We note your disappointment at our decision not to broadcast an appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee to raise funds for Gaza.

      We decided not to broadcast the DEC’s public appeal because we wished to avoid any risk of compromising public confidence in the BBC’s impartiality in the context of covering a continuing news story where issues of responsibility for civilian suffering and distress are intrinsic to the story and remain highly contentious. We also could not be confident that the aid resulting from audience donations could reach those it was intended for at a time of a fragile ceasefire and sporadic border access. We will of course continue to report the humanitarian story in Gaza.

      The BBC’s director-general Mark Thompson has therefore explained the decision in more detail in a number of television and radio broadcasts and online at our Editors’ blog. Please follow the link to read his explanation in full:


      Please be assured that we have registered your comments on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management. It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive, are circulated and considered across the BBC.

      Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us.


      BBC Complaints

      completely unacceptable in my book. I did laugh dryly at the statement that they didn’t want to undermine public confidence in them.. Too late for that methinks..

      I did receive this from the PSC today – which is another avenue to complain to the BBC. Although if the DG has made his mind up so I don’t know how useful it will be:

      We are urging all of our supporters to write directly to those at the BBC who have made this decision and show that the majority of licence fee payers – the people they are supposed to represent – believe that the DEC appeal should be shown

      Email peter.horrocks@bbc.co.uk

      Peter is the head of News at the BBC – He was responsible for the so called impartial coverage of the conflict in Gaza, and argued that it would impact on the BBC’s integrity if they showed the appeal. Remember this appeal has not been shown by the BBC because the regulators deemed it to breach the impartiality regulations – this appeal has not been shown because the BBC made a value judgement on our behalf – write to them and show you don’t share their distorted view of the world.

      Over 15,000 people have already logged their complaint – join them and make sure we deluge the BBC, by going to the BBC’s Complaints Department website:


      Please copy your complaint to helen.boaden@bbc.co.uk

      Our voices are equally important to the elite of the BBC dictating what we can and can’t watch.

      I’ll post it properly tomorrow.. now I really do need to get some sleep

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