Socialist Worker

Outrage as BBC blocks charity appeal for Gaza

Issue No. 2135

The BBC is refusing to broadcast a charity appeal for the people of Gaza, breaking an agreement stretching back to 1963 whereby charities are granted free airtime for responses to major humanitarian disasters.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group of 13 charities including the Red Cross, Christian Aid, Oxfam and Save the Children, launched its Gaza Crisis Appeal yesterday.

Normally the BBC and other broadcasters gives such national appeals free airtime after national news bulletins. Previous such appeals have raised £10m for the Congo and £18m for Burma.

But the BBC is blocking the latest appeal by claiming it would compromise the organisation's 'impartiality'. Other broadcasters say that as a result of the BBC's decision, they will not broadcast the appeal either.

The BBC ban is yet another kick in the teeth for Palestinians. It starkly reveals the racist contempt that the organisation holds Palestinian lives in.

Far from being 'impartial', the BBC has spent the past three weeks cravenly spouting pro-Israeli propaganda. Now by torpedoing the DEC charity broadcast, it is deliberately sabotaging the humanitarian aid effort for Gaza.

What you can do

  • Join the national Stop the War demonstration tomorrow, Saturday 24 January. Assemble at 2pm outside BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1. Bring children's dolls wrapped in white shrouds to lay on the steps of the BBC. Go to » www.stopwar.org.uk for more details.
  • Register a formal complaint with the BBC for their refusal to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal. Phone 03700 100 222 and press 3 to be put through to the complaints department.
  • Donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee's national Gaza Crisis Appeal. Go to » www.dec.org.uk for details and to donate online.

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