Sky News Joins BBC in Refusing to Run Gaza Appeal

Both operations claim appeal would threaten image of impartiality
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted Jan 26, 2009 7:00 AM CST
Demonstrators occupy the BBC's Scotland headquarters in Glasgow yesterday. The British anti-war group said they would stay until the BBC agrees to air a charity fundraising appeal for the Gaza Strip.   (AP Photo/Stop the War Coalition, via PA)
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(Newser) – Britain's Sky News has joined the BBC in its controversial decision not to run a charity advertisement appealing for aid to Gaza, reports the Times of London. Sky News executives made the announcement as public and political pressure mounted for the BBC to change its stance. BBC officials said airing the appeal film from a coalition of charities could be construed as taking a political stance in the Mideast conflict and would jeopardize the network's journalistic impartiality.

The publicly funded operation has received 11,000 complaints about the decision. Today 50 members of Parliament will support a motion pressing the BBC to reverse course. Sky News executives also said the appeal would threaten its reputation. "It's incompatible with our role in providing balanced reporting," said the channel's head. The archbishop of York has called the issue one of "humanity," not impartiality.