The BBC has refused to broadcast a national humanitarian appeal for Gaza, leaving aid agencies with a potential shortfall of millions of pounds in donations.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group for 13 aid charities, launched its appeal yesterday saying the devastation in Gaza was "so huge British aid agencies were compelled to act".
But the BBC made a rare breach of an agreement dating to 1963, saying it would not give free airtime to the appeal. Other broadcasters followed suit. Previously, broadcasters had agreed on the video and script to be used with the DEC, to be shown after primetime news bulletins.
The BBC, which has been criticised in the past over alleged bias in its coverage of the Middle East, said it did not want to risk public confidence in its impartiality. A BBC spokesperson said: "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 [a] news story."
The DEC's chief executive, Brendan Gormley, said: "We are totally apolitical ... this appeal is a response to humanitarian principles. The BBC seems to be confusing impartiality with equal airtime."
DEC appeals have recently raised £10m for the Congo and £18m for Burma.
An ITV spokesman said the broadcasters, after assessing the DEC's needs, had been unable "to reach a consensus necessary for an appeal".
Sky said: "By convention, if all broadcasters do not carry the appeal, then none do. The decision was effectively made for us."
Reminds me of Chelsea fans who had no faith in Avram Grant, and accused of being anti-semites. And so did the british press. Super sensitive people, jews people. They seem to be the only victim in every occasion. State of the Victims, State of Israel.
This decision seems to be based on a reaction to accusations of bias over Gaza coverage. Well I guess these are The Rules of the Western Media in dealing with the Middle East 1.0 :
Rule 1: See the Middle East through Israeli eyes.
Rule 2: Treat American and Israeli governmental statements as hard news.
Rule 3: Ignore the historical context.
Rule 4: Avoid the fundamental legal and moral issues posed by the Israeli occupation.
Rule 5: Suppress or minimize news unfavorable to the Israelis.
Rule 6: Muddy the waters when necessary.
Rule 7: Credit all Israeli claims, even if wholly unfounded.
Rule 8: Doubt all Palestinian assertions, no matter how self-evident.
Rule 9: Condemn only Palestinian violence.
Rule 10: Disparage the international consensus supporting Palestinian rights
And The Rules of the Western Media in dealing with the Middle East 2.0 :
Rule 1: In the Middle East, it is always the Arabs that attack first, and it's always Israel who defends itself. This is called "retaliation".
Rule 2: The Arabs, whether Palestinians or Lebanese, are not allowed to kill Israelis. This is called "terrorism".
Rule 3: Israel has the right to kill Arab civilians; this is called "self-defense", or these days "collateral damage".
Rule 4: When Israel kills too many civilians the Western world calls for restraint. This is called the "reaction of the international community".
Rule 5: Palestinians and Lebanese do not have the right to capture Israeli military, not even a limited number, not even 1 or 2.
Rule 6: Israel has the right to capture as many Palestinians as they want (Palestinians: around 10000 to date, 300 of which are children, Lebanese: 1000s to date, being held without trial). There is no limit; there is no need for proof of guilt or trial. All that is needed is the magic word: "terrorism"
Rule 7: When you say "Hezbollah", always be sure to add "supported by Syria and Iran"
Rule 8: When you say "Israel", never say "supported by the USA, the UK and other European countries", for people (God forbid) might believe this is not an equal conflict.
Rule 9: When it comes to Israel, don't mention the words "occupied territories", "UN resolutions", "Geneva conventions". This could distress the audience of Fox.
Rule 10: Israelis speak better English than Arabs. This is why we let them speak out as much as possible, so that they can explain rules 1 through 9. This is called "neutral journalism".
Rule 11: If you don't agree with these rules or if you favor the Arab side over the Israeli side, you must be a very dangerous anti-Semite. You may even have to make a public apology if you express your honest opinion (isn't democracy wonderful ?).
You can find the double standards here.
So much for free press.
So much for human rights.
Well, what the hell BBC, Palestinians will survive without your free airtime.