January 25, 2009

More pressure on the Beeb's starving of Gaza

Many thanks to one of my Scotland correspondents for drawing my attention to the occupation of the BBC's Glasgow headquarters. The report is on the Sky website which is newsworthy of itself since Sam Kiley, a Murdoch dissident, said that Murdoch was a personal friend of Ariel Sharon. Anyway cop this straight from the Sky website:
Gaza Aid Protesters In Beeb's HQ

7:05pm UK, Sunday January 25, 2009

Dozens of protesters have occupied the BBC's headquarters in Glasgow over the broadcaster's refusal to air an emergency aid appeal for Gaza.

Palestinian woman holds her baby as she stands in the rubble of east Jebaliya, Gaza

Palestinian woman holds her baby as she stands in the rubble of east Jebaliya, Gaza

The supporters of the Stop the War Coalition and Palestinian groups said they will not leave the building's lobby area until the Beeb reverses its decision.

The coalition claimed there were about 100 demonstrators inside and outside the building.

A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman said there were about 40 to 50 protesters and there had been no arrests yet.

More than 50 MPs have already backed a parliamentary motion urging the broadcaster to show the appeal for thousands of people struggling in the Palestinian territory.

The early day motion - to be tabled on Monday by Labour's Richard Burden - has so far received the support of 51 MPs from across the Commons.

The BBC is still standing firm on its decision not to show the advert for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

The corporation has said it has received "approximately" 1,000 telephone complaints and a further 10,000 by email.

Rival broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Five have now agreed to air the appeal. Sky is still considering its position.

A Palestinian boy eats an orange while standing in the ruins of the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City

Suffering in Gaza

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is the latest figure to add his voice to the string of politicians, including senior government ministers, urging the corporation to change its mind.

He said he fully backed the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, who said: "This is not an appeal by Hamas asking for arms but by the Disasters Emergency Committee asking for relief."

Thousands of people have already demonstrated outside the BBC's Broadcasting House in London this weekend.

The DEC - an umbrella group for several major aid charities including the British Red Cross, Save the Children and Oxfam - wants the appeal to be broadcast on TV and radio.

It aims to raise millions of pounds for Gazans in need of food, medicines and shelter following Israel's three-week assault on the area.

The Charity Commission has repeated its call on the BBC to show the appeal, and also urged Sky to lend support.

BBC director general Mark Thompson says broadcasting the advert could compromise the impartiality of the BBC's reporting from Gaza.

They have a video too but I couldn't load it and you're not missing much really.

I don't get the Observer but I'm guessing that several articles on what the BBC did made it into print today. Check out this little lot:

Corporation receives 11,000 complaints and 50 MPs plan to back motion calling for rethink on aid film
Tim Lewellyn is in a real fume:
The corporation's chief operating officer, Caroline Thomson, had refused to allow it to broadcast an appeal on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee for Gaza. She said that one reason was that "the BBC's impartiality was in danger of being damaged". Could the BBC be sure, she added, that money raised for this cause would find its way to the right people?

How is the BBC's impartiality to be prejudiced by asking others to raise money for the victims of an act of war by a recognised state, an ally of Britain, using the most lethal armaments it can against a defenceless population? What sly little trigger went off in her head when Thomson questioned whether the aid would reach the right people? What right people? Hamas, the elected representatives of the Palestinian people? The hospitals and clinics run by private charities and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency? The mosques? The citizens of Gaza, persecuted beyond measure not only by their Israeli enemies but by the western powers who arm and sustain Israel and defy the democratic vote of the Palestinian people?

Is Thomson more fussed about some imaginary "war on terror" that even the new White House is shying away from than she is about upholding the free speech and freedom of action of the corporation?

This pusillanimous obeisance to some imagined governmental threat has aroused unprecedented anger across the BBC.
Ok, I've done a few posts on this now but the Beeb is literally behaving like it's the Israeli state broadcaster. That is a story in itself and I can't promise there won't be more. There almost definitely will be more. I'm hoping the last one will be if and when the Beeb blinks and then buckles.

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