Britain urges BBC to lift much-criticised refusal on Gaza aid appeal

The BBC suggested the appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a coalition of 13 aid agencies, would "compromise" the impartiality of its coverage.

Britain urges BBC to lift much-criticised refusal on Gaza aid appeal

The British government urged the BBC on Saturday to drop its refusal to broadcast a humanitarian appeal for victims of the war in Gaza.

The BBC suggested the appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a coalition of 13 aid agencies, would compromise the impartiality of its coverage.

"The most important thing we can do for the people who are suffering is carrying on reporting it and we've done "exemplary work" in reporting the suffering of the people of Gaza," Chief Operating Officer Caroline Thomson said.

"If we lose the trust of the audience by appearing...to support one side rather than another, then we will have lost it for the charities themselves as well as everyone else."

Satellite broadcaster Sky took the same line on the appeal, while ITV said it would show it. But most attention focused on the stance of the BBC, which as the national public broadcaster is funded by a licence fee paid by owners of TV sets.

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said the British public could distinguish between support for humanitarian aid and perceived partiality in a conflict.

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

Politicians and aid groups have written to the BBC to try to persuade it to reconsider its decision, while hundreds of people demonstrated outside one of the broadcaster's London television centres.

More than 1,300 Palestinians were killed, a third of them children, and at least 5,300 were injured during Israel's 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip. Thirteen Israelis also died in south of the country.

Israel destroyed schools, hospitals, mosques and infrastructure in Gaza Strip, left Palestinian without essential need, electricity and water.

Reuters
Last Mod: 25 Ocak 2009, 12:44
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