The BBC has officially refused to air an appeal for aid for Gaza from ten international aid groups, including British Red Cross, Oxfam, and Save the Children. The BBC insists that, no matter how crafted, the aid request would undermine its impartiality in covering the conflict. SKY has now joined BBC in the refusal to air any appeal.
Director general Mark Thompson stated “We concluded that we could not broadcast a free-standing appeal, no matter how carefully constructed, without running the risk of reducing public confidence in the BBC’s impartiality in its wider coverage of the story. . . Inevitably an appeal would use pictures which are the same or similar to those we would be using in our news programs but would do so with the objective of encouraging public donations. The danger for the BBC is that this could be interpreted as taking a political stance on an ongoing story.”
I am confused by this position, particularly the “no matter how carefully constructed” statement. I understand the need for requiring a purely charitable appeal without political content. However, I fail to see how an appeal for humanitarian appeal destroys impartiality of a news organization. The company could always add a disclaimer. There is obviously great human suffering and health dangers in Gaza. That should be enough to justify an appeal for charity while preserving impartiality.
For the full story, click here.