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Sunday, January 25, 2009

BBC ban on Gaza aid broadcast sparks ire

Sat, 24 Jan 2009 14:41:10 GMT | PressTV [ BBC News]

British media has been accused of under-reporting anti-war protests in the Island kingdom.
Thousands of people are holding a protest in London, decrying BBC's refusal to broadcast a charity appeal for war-hit people of Gaza.

The BBC says it has refrained from broadcasting the appeal over concerns that it would conflict with its policy of impartiality as well as reservations about the possibility of efficient aid delivery.

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander on Saturday urged the British network in a written letter to reconsider its decision, saying the BBC argument was weak at best.

"I think the British public can distinguish between support for humanitarian aid and perceived partiality in a conflict," he told BBC radio.

"I really struggle to see, in the face of the immense human suffering in Gaza at the moment, that this is in any way a credible argument."

The ban has sparked fierce criticism from Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government as well as Muslim groups, AFP reported.

The appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a group comprised of respected aid charities like the British Red Cross and Oxfam, has emphasized that it has no political agendas and only aims to ease the humanitarian crisis.

The public-funded BBC is, however, not alone in its decision, as ITV and Sky have also refused to show the appeal.

A 10 million pounds (10.5 million euros, 13.6 million dollars) loss in donations has been estimated due to the broadcasting ban.

The 'Stop The War' has estimated a £10 million loss due to the broadcasting ban.
The "Stop The War" coalition has organized huge rallies in London in the past few weekends against Israel's aerial, ground, and sea bombing of Gaza, which claimed the lives of some 1,330 Palestinians and injured thousands others.

British socialist politician and activist Tony Benn has questioned the fairness of British coverage of the Gaza war, Benn told Press TV at a demonstration on January 17, before the end of the 23-day war on Gaza, that he demanded "better and fairer coverage from media in
Britain that does not cover our demonstrations."

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