Socialist Worker

Media impartiality is neither possible nor desirable

Issue No. 2136

BBC executives came up with a thoroughly disingenuous excuse to justify their shameful refusal to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee’s appeal for Gaza. They claimed that broadcasting the appeal would have compromised the corporation’s “impartiality”.

One wonders who, if anyone, believes that the BBC is being “impartial” on the Israel-Palestine conflict by breaking with over 40 years of precedent and blocking a charity appeal for desperate Palestinians.

The BBC ban starkly revealed the corporation’s capitulation to Israel’s propaganda machine. But it also exposed the hollowness that lurks behind high-minded appeals to journalistic “impartiality”.

In reality journalism always presents events from a particular point of view and reflects a political standpoint – either explicitly or implicitly. This is as true of the BBC as it is of Socialist Worker. To pretend to be “impartial” simply disguises it.

Journalists have a duty to tell the truth about the world, even when this is inconvenient and embarrassing for those in power. That duty should override the callous sophistry from BBC bosses about their supposed neutrality.

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What We Think
Tue 27 Jan 2009, 18:47 GMT
Issue No. 2136
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