BBC Refusal to Air Gaza Appeal Sparks Uproar

Network fears appearance of bias in charged issue

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 25, 2009 8:00 AM CST

(Newser) – The BBC has been lambasted by politicians, religious leaders and its own staff for the network's refusal to broadcast an appeal for Gaza aid, the Guardian reports. Executives of the publicly funded network say they must adhere to a strict code of impartiality, and that airing the appeal could be seen as expressing a bias in the politically charged Mideast conflict.

"It's absolutely essential the audience not see any evidence of bias," said a former network head. But a BBC announcer said his colleagues were “absolutely seething” about the decision. “This is not an appeal by Hamas asking for arms but by the Disasters Emergency Committee asking for relief,” said an angry archbishop of York. “By declining the request, the BBC has already taken sides and forsaken impartiality.”

The BBC logo marks a a wall at the BBC headquarters in London.   (Getty Images)
The BBC building at the network's Shepherds Bush headquarters in London.   (Getty Images)
A Palestinian man stands in front of his destroyed house in east Jebaliya in the northern Gaza strip today.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
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