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 BBC in disgrace over refusal to air appeal for Gaza

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PostSubject: BBC in disgrace over refusal to air appeal for Gaza   Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:10 pm

The British Disasters Emergency Committee which is a coalition of approx 16 major British charities was refused permission by the BBC to broadcast an appeal for humanitarian relief for Gaza. The reason given by the Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, was that it might compromise impartiality while the situation was ongoing. There has been a massive outpouring of anger and disgust in Britain over this and a protest is taking place outside the BBC's offices in Portland Place London right at the moment (Sat 2pm). The portest had been planned in advance anyway to protest the unbelievable pro-Israeli bias of the BBC's coverage during the last few weeks - but the decision against the DEC has given the protest extra impetus.

The BBC's decision is catastrophic for the appeal because of the convention that none of the broadcasters will air such appeals unless they all do. Sky is going with the BBC but for the first time ever ITV has broken the rule and has said it will air the appeal. Sky may regret this however as there is now a move afoot to cancel subscriptions to it.

Tony Benn gave a brilliant performance on News 24 this morning and managed to get the appeal read out twice despite protests from the news reader (who didn't try very hard to stop him)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ix5CkWWeSmI

Representatives of the British government have also criticised the BBC over the decision. International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander has asked them to reconsider.

Govt minister Ben Bradshaw, a former BBC correspondent speaking on the BBC's Questions & Answers programme told of Israel's intimidation of reporters - saying that it was well known that Israel puts enormous pressure on the BBC.
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PostSubject: Re: BBC in disgrace over refusal to air appeal for Gaza   Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:26 pm

Channel 4 to air the appeal too:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7848673.stm
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PostSubject: Re: BBC in disgrace over refusal to air appeal for Gaza   Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:40 pm

The BBC website too is carrying this in several pages:

Quote :
Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza humanitarian appeal:
Launched by UK charities on 22 January to raise money for Gaza aid relief and reconstruction
Participants: Action Aid, British Red Cross, Cafod, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, World Vision
Tel: 0370 60 60 900 or go to DEC website

I worked for the BBC for a number of years. There were some honest individuals but by and large the culture was largely unconciously and routinely racist, colonial-minded and unquestioning of the actions of the powerful.

We discussed Channel 4's programme on the reporting of Gaza here. I don't watch much BBC these days, and was shocked afresh by the implicit racism of their approach.

John Snow's Channel 4 programme suggested that in the absence of the BBC and Channel 4's western, "balanced" voice to mediate between us and what is happening, we will "never know what actually happened".

http://machinenation.forumakers.com/world-politics-and-events-f27/hamas-executing-fatah-members-and-collaborationists-in-gaza-t1873-25.htm?highlight=gaza

In "Why the Gaza crisis is so Shocking" - a blog by Alex Klaushofer - rightly describes how the exclusion by the Israelis of foreign journalists from Gaza and consequent reliance on local reporters made the reporting far more forceful and raised a higher level of empathy.

http://www.alertnet.org/db/blogs/40453/2009/00/7-114912-1.htm

Quote :
Partly, it's due to the tone of the media coverage, different from much reporting of other conflicts. The ban by the Israelis on international journalists entering Gaza has had the unexpected effect of bringing Palestinian voices, rather than western commentators, to the fore.

Instead of parachuting a star war journalist into the war zone as they often do in high profile conflicts, media organisations are having to rely on Gazan residents to be their eyes and ears on the ground.

So local businessman Sami Abdel-Shafi has been reporting regularly for Britain's Channel 4 TV news and the Guardian newspaper, while Gaza-based BBC producer Rashdi Abu Alouf has been doing live pieces to camera from al Shafa hospital, which has been receiving many of the casualties.

Sometimes these newly-conscripted reporters appear visibly exhausted, or patently unused to broadcasting. At times their personal suffering enters the story, as in the case of one cameraman whose younger brother was killed while playing on a roof, and who then went on to film the aftermath for transmission.

The resulting media coverage has an unmediated quality which brings the story closer to home. It's crisis reporting with less "professional" detachment and more humanising force.

The BBC is under real pressure to back down. This whole episode hopefully will wake people up to the fact that when they watch the BBC they are watching a neutered and deliberately dehumanised version of the news, and this provides a cover for murder.

Here Tim Franks of the BBC acknowledges the power of reporting - a case of a Palestinian doctor whose three daughters were killed in the shelling, and whose Israeili reporter fried tried to help him.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7846325.stm

The byline was the "humanising" of the Gaza story. Is the suggestion there somehow that without this reporting, the Gazans are seen as not fully and equally human?
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PostSubject: Re: BBC in disgrace over refusal to air appeal for Gaza   Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:55 pm

Time and again the BBC have had lines of Israeli spokespeople on their news reports often making flagrantly untrue statements yet going completely unchallenged.

Snow's programme was unselfconsciously revealing. It made explicit so many of the underlying assumptions and attitudes of the reporters - it was pretty shocking and depressing.

There are rumours of some sort of rebellion afoot at the BBC over this - calls for strikes. I've heard from someone who worked there for a long time (now with C4) that it was full of free-masonry - especially among ex RAF people a lot of whom work on the more technical side of things.
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PostSubject: Re: BBC in disgrace over refusal to air appeal for Gaza   Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:04 pm

Aragon wrote:


Tony Benn gave a brilliant performance on News 24 this morning and managed to get the appeal read out twice despite protests from the news reader (who didn't try very hard to stop him)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ix5CkWWeSmI

Well done to him.
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PostSubject: Re: BBC in disgrace over refusal to air appeal for Gaza   Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:07 pm

A poster on another website has put this up:

"I hope I'm wrong about this. Someone please tell me that the following BBC scheduling is pure coincidence (though I know the schedules are planned months and months ahead).

* Last week the BBC showed a five-part dramatisation of the Diary of Anne Frank over five evenings in prime time.

* Today (Saturday) the first two parts are being repeated on BBC2 in a primetime slot, and presumably the rest will follow over the next few days.

* Tonight, also on BBC2, there's a documentary called Paper Clips about the pupils of a school in Tennessee who in 1998 decided to collect one paper clip for each of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis.

* If you go the BBC Homepage you will find the featured programme is "Archive: Witnessing the Holocaust", (the main picture showing Auschwitz), comprising a series of seventeen TV and radio programmes about the concentration camps and the Final Solution.

It isn't a special anniversary about the Holocaust, is it? Why are all these programmes being shown now, and repeated, and all on BBC channels?

Please tell me I'm delusional in suspecting that these have been deliberately scheduled months in advance to be broadcast at exactly this time. "
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PostSubject: Re: BBC in disgrace over refusal to air appeal for Gaza   Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:07 pm

Add to that the release of a film about a Jewish partisan, starring James Bond himself...

Like so many of these things (the Israeli ban on foreign journalists for one) this could badly backfire. The parallels between what was done to the European Jews and what is being done to the Palestinians very strong. Its good for us to be reminded about what facism is, all the better to see it coming and combat it.

It is healthy to see an open debate on the BBC coverage. If we had been able to see what has been done to civilians in Afghanistan, it may have come sooner.

Tony did well all right.