On air: Does an aid appeal for Gaza undermine impartiality?


The BBC is under growing pressure to air a Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) charity appeal for aid to Gaza after other channels agreed to broadcast it. Caroline Thompson, the cheif operating officer at the BBC , will be on the first half of the program today to take your questions.

Director General Mark Thompson has said that by airing the appeal “The danger for the BBC is that this could be interpreted as taking a political stance on an ongoing story.”

The decision has sparked massive reaction both for and against it , veteran politician Tony Benn, said: “We can’t ignore suffering in the interests of what the BBC calls impartiality.”

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the British public could “distinguish between support for humanitarian aid and perceived partiality in a conflict”.

But Culture secretary Andy Burnham said that it was the BBC’s call whether to air the appeal or not. He said, ” I think it’s right that broadcasters come to their own judgement.”

And in this article Andrew Roberts says the BBC is right not to air the appeal not because it’s impartial but because it is actually biased towards Palestine and that many of the 13 charities making the DEC according to him are ant-Israeli.

What do you think, is the BBC and Sky News right not to air the Gaza appeal? Is it a public broadcaster’s job to air charity appeals or should it focus on delivering accurate stories about these conflicts and let people make-up their minds?

316 Responses to “On air: Does an aid appeal for Gaza undermine impartiality?”

  1. 1 Muhammad Asim Munir
    January 26, 2009 at 13:15

    Hi WHYS,

    I hope you all are fine.

    The impartiality of BBC is never compromised if the charity appeal is made by BBC on air with this message “The BBC does not own this appeal to preserve its impartiality and it is made purely on humanitarian basis.”

    To not air the appeal itself could be interpreted as “partial behanviour”. What do you think about it?

    Warm regards,
    Muhammad Asim Munir
    Gujranwala, Pakistan.

  2. 2 Yvonne Leonard
    January 26, 2009 at 13:25

    An aid appeal for Gaza most definitely does NOT undermine the BBCs impartiality. The fact that it refuses an appeal has convinced me its reasons must be “political” and under pressure from the Israeli lobby. There is no other explanation for it, given the extent of the humanitarian crisis. I, for one, will be watching the BBC closely from now on!

  3. 3 Nurun Nessa
    January 26, 2009 at 13:30

    I’m not surprised at sky not giving air time to Gaza Appeal as it is own by supporters of Israel, but we as licnce fee payer is shocked at BBC for taking sides.

    They are afraid of the Zionist lobby.

    I don;t understand their fear becuase the BBC is funded by the British public and not any political groups.

    The BBC is contradicing its self when they say they don’t want be seen as taking sides.

  4. 4 Urias Goll-Liberia
    January 26, 2009 at 13:36

    Why has BBC refused to report on the humanitarian appeal of Palestinians . when they are indirectly making appeals for the people of Zimbabwe concerning cholera outbreak? Is it not political when President Mugabe said that there is no Cholera and BBC says there is? What’s the difference between that and the current one.

    BBC Please help

  5. 5 MarcusAureliusII
    January 26, 2009 at 13:39

    Spot on BBC. This is still an active war zone without even a mutually agreed to truce. Hostilities could resume at any time. Anyone entering would put their lives at risk. BBC should leave it to others to make that choice with no endorsement that could make them complicit in such deaths. BBC has had recent first hand experience also with uncontrolled dangerous warring factions within Gaza beyond the control of Hamas who could kidnap or kill anyone entering. BBC is right to stay out of it for the time being until the situation stabalizes.

  6. 6 Henricus van Vliet
    January 26, 2009 at 13:47

    Sorry to say, but for the BBC to state that it’s self-proclaimed impartiality would be undermined by airing an aid appeal for Gaza, seems to me a chotspe.
    That impartiality is not so obvious!
    For, has the reporting on the Israeli-Palestine conflict not been criticised from within to be ‘misleading’ not that long ago?
    Also, over the last years quite a number of Palestinians have been killed by the IDF (extra-judiciary killings) and other Israeli. Only a fraction of these killings have been reported by the BBC. On the other hand, any death of an Israeli by Palestinian hands nearly always has been a major news-item.
    If the BBC does not want to air the aid appeal, well that is one thing, but to bring impartiality up as a motive to me is not credible.

  7. 7 Mohammed Ali
    January 26, 2009 at 13:49

    Not airing the AID APPEAL for Gaza will show some partiality on the part of the BBC in favor of the Israelis. If airing aid appeals for suffering people who are desperately in need compromises the impatiality of the BBC, then that impatiality has been compromised long ago. The BBC aired aid appeals for the suffering people of Burma, Zimbabwe, Darfur, Kosovo, etc. to the satisfaction of the world. Why not for Gaza?

  8. January 26, 2009 at 13:52

    Let’s be honest. Part of the cause for the crisis is Israel, part of it is Hamas, but the largest material cause is the simple fact that Palestinian women produce far more children that they need to or should. More kids means greater concentration of people, which means more casualties. Palestinians are still breeding like farmers even though they don’t have farms.

  9. 9 Lubna
    January 26, 2009 at 13:53

    Salaam… I (as a loyal BBC listener) must say that I was deeply disappointed by the BBC’s decision not to air the Gaza ad… If I were not mistaken, the BBC has aired before ads calling for humanitarian aid to Darfur and Burma (both of which are clearly sensitive and controversial issues too, right?), so why on earth should the humanitarian sufferance in Gaza be an exception ?! Is it because Israel isn’t involved in the humanitarian crises of Darfur and Burma while it’s deeply involved in the humanitarian crisis of Gaza I wonder ?! How on earth can calling for humanitarian aid to innocent civilians in any way compromise impartiality ?! Unless of course those innocent civilians were Gazans, then the story is totally different… Do innocent Gazan civilians deserve getting humanitarian aid in the 1st place ?! I guess that this is the question that should be asked… I must also say that I still do trust, appreciate, love, admire, and have faith in the BBC despite its decision not to air the ad… But I guess that this time you guys at the BBC have made the wrong call and favoured politics over humanity… I mean you could’ve just aired the ad and added a subtitle to it that states that “The BBC would like to clarify that airing this ad doesn’t mean at all that the BBC is taking sides in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Getting humanitarian aid to innocent Gazan civilians who were victims of this conflict between Israel and Hamas is all what we at the BBC care about. We don’t want to compromise our impartiality and credibility”… Wouldn’t that be more appropriate than your current decision Mr Mark Thompson?! With my love.. Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  10. 10 Mohammed Ali
    January 26, 2009 at 13:54

    I thinks also as part of the ethic of journalism is to help save the lives of sufferring people. Many including me do beleive that the refusal of the BBC to aired aid appeal for the suffering masses of Gaza is as a result of pressure from the Israelis.

  11. January 26, 2009 at 13:58

    The BBC controversial position on whether it should show the DEC Gaza appeal is giving DEC more publicity than it needs as this has become one of top news reports on the BBC and other major news channels.

    It can be argued that it’s enough for the BBC to make objective reporting about the ongoing events in Gaza for the public to make their own judgement. The DEC can use other media outlets and emails to get the donations it needs.

    However there must be exceptions when human lives are in danger. The appeal isn’t about supporting Hamas and denouncing Israel. It’s about helping people whose lives are completely shattered. The appeal can’t be accepted only if it has political references.

  12. 12 adrian hughes
    January 26, 2009 at 14:07

    Dear WHSY,

    I feel the most reasonable solution to this question has already been put forward by participant Asim Munir – the BBC should air the appeal with a rider or disclaimer of some sort stating that the appeal is being made on humanitarian grounds.

    By the way, is this the first time that the BBC have refused to air a humanitarian appeal for an event not related to a natural disaster? I have no facts at hand and no easy way of checking this, but – has there never been an appeal made on the BBC relating to an ongoing conflict of any kind, whether in Asia, Africa or anywhere else?

    It would support the claims for impartiality if this is the case, but would tend rather more to discredit the BBC’s stand if it should turn out that similar appeals have in the past been made regarding less politically sensitive conflicts.

    Yours sincerely,

    Adrian Hughes

  13. 13 philip adanu
    January 26, 2009 at 14:08

    those insisting on BBC airing the appeal are playing politics with the issue at stake.one question they should ask themselves is,will the appeal bring lasting peace to the middle east?what they are doing is trying to blackmail the BBC.

  14. January 26, 2009 at 14:12

    James here from kenay
    .If anything BBC is losing credibility now by seeming like a NEWS CORPORATION BULLY content and motivated by making money from those who can pay for advertising. Come ON BBC exercise the FAIRNESS DOCTRINE and do the compassionate thing. Air THE AID APPEAL

  15. 15 wendy madden
    January 26, 2009 at 14:15

    shame on the bbc.i have thought it was useless news wise for some time.if bbc cant do the appeal what can they do ?will they report the war crimes court when the criminals appear?i can impartialy say isupport palestine i hope we can keeppresure up for them and against the bbc.

  16. 16 Rosa Martinez
    January 26, 2009 at 14:15

    What does it mean impartiality, in the world under these current affairs???
    Is even a picture about the current world situation impartial???
    Who does at this stage of history still believe in impartiality??.
    What a naive question!!!
    Or perhaps it’s just a mere rhetoric question!!!

  17. 17 sophie mauriange
    January 26, 2009 at 14:20

    Of course the BBC should air the appeal. We all want to help the poor civilians, who just wish for peace.
    Please do your job
    Thank you

  18. 18 Michel Norman
    January 26, 2009 at 14:22

    I don’t think anyone disputes that there are two humanitarian crises in Gaza, both of which need to be solved and both of which have been created by Hammas. the first crisis is Gilad Shalit – the soldier who the 500,000 strong Gazan rally last month mocked for being refused access to the Red Cross as required by the Geneva convention. the second involves the professional refugees, who have been living off UN aid for 60 years, whilst the tens of millions of refugees in the 1940’s have all been resettled. All that is needed to solve these problems is not international aid, it is just for the Hammas government, which was elected by a majority of gazans, to put the needs of the Palestinian people before its desire to carry out acts of terrorism. An appeal should not be rejected – perhaps it could be balanced by an appeal for the children of Sderot who have had 8 years of having roickets fired at tehir schools every day, for the children of Darfur who have been raped, murdered and starved by Moslem terrorists, for the thousands starving in Zimbabwe, who unlike the gazans did not vote for the dispicaple people who hold power in their country. Tony Benn and Clare Short can hardly be described as impartial observers.

  19. 19 Madeleine Morris
    January 26, 2009 at 14:24

    Hi Adrian,

    In answer to your question – yes the BBC has refused to broadcast appeals from the DEC before. In 2006 the BBC refused to screen an appeal for people staring in East Africa, saying it did not believe agwencies could deliver aid.

    It also refused to air a DEC appeal for victims of the Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006 after the DEC said it wanted to include Gaza.

    It also refused intially to show an appeal for aid to Burma after cyclone Nargis. It later agreet to do it after access to the country improved.

    Hope that helps

  20. January 26, 2009 at 14:24

    hey BBc
    my name is sahid and am a sierraleonian living in sierraleone i am really dissapointed with the BBc saying if they broadcast the appeal for the Gaza it will show impartiality.This is a humanitarian assistance that those people need,if it has been Isreal the bbc would have broadcast there appeal.Am pleading to the bbc please broadcast the appeal.

  21. January 26, 2009 at 14:25

    Alright, so let me revise my originally posted position, some. I am clearly in favour of aid reaching the Gazans, as well as the need to promote that as fact. I do understand the need to appear impartial, except I feel that, given the exigencies of the post-war circumstances in Gaza, the BBC could (it does not have to!), but could relent in this decision. It is part of an ongoing debate in this forum about the role of media and how do they really help victims of natural and other disasters.

    My view is that, there is no true or real objectivity, despite appearances to the contrary. That is to say, regardless of how balanced we appear, there is always a perspective that we carry despite appearances of nuetrality. What is interesting about all this, however, is that this very discussion brings to the fore a number of the concerns, though not all, which are implicated in this conversation. Perhaps, it is that this is a more effective way of raising the profile of the call for aid? I am not sure.

    But, I do know that the discussion is not only timely, it is also very important going forward. As noted at the top and also in the previous post, the graphic images of destruction in Gaza, from what I can tell, require that aid be given as a matter of grave urgency. Obviously, however, there is more politics involved here than meets the eye. It would be too sad though, if while we debate the people of Gaza are exposed to greater risks within the post-war period.

  22. 22 Anna Varga
    January 26, 2009 at 14:26

    People have been attacked and their homes, surroundings brutally destroyed. They deserve empathy, monetary and other kinds of help, and lots of prayers as they are weeping for their relatives, friends who have been killed.
    The attackers also need lots of prayers so they would realize that they committed a crime.

  23. 23 Muhammad
    January 26, 2009 at 14:27

    I am not surprised at all for BBC to veto aid appeal for Gaza because to them Palestinian are not human being. To BBC, Zionist killers are right no matter what.They have destroyed Gaza and BBC does not even have conscious to support humanitarian aid for the victims.

    How can BBC be impartial since it was Britain who planted the seed of terror in the Palestine by giving Palestinians land to Zionist.

    Moderate Jews are opposed to the mistreatment of Palestinian but not BBC.

    It should be remembered that there is only one race on this earth and that is human race – no peace is possible if justice is denied to a section of the human race.

    Well done BBC for exposing your real colours.

  24. 24 Joel Salomon
    January 26, 2009 at 14:28

    I fail to see partiality here. The Hamas-instigated military action cost Gazans severely in terms of lives and property. They need help.
     So long as money is not going to Hamas for distribution military restocking, or to the P.A. for plunder, I see no reason not to air the appeal for help.
     It would be nice if the appeal didn’t directly demonize Israel, or if houses used for weapons smuggling or storing did not receive money to rebuild, but I do not expect such care from the BBC.

  25. 25 alan hester
    January 26, 2009 at 14:28

    The BBC’s refusal to air this appeal has already shown that the BBC and Sky are already biased against the Palestinians. Unfortunately, for the BBC, I will always remember this bias, when listening to future stories about Gaza.

    Is it worth it for the BBC to ruin their credibility?

  26. 26 Anna Varga
    January 26, 2009 at 14:28

    It is correct as it is

  27. January 26, 2009 at 14:32

    Mark Thomson must know that the BBC is political. Editorial decisions about what to include in the news, showing government information films and the use of the BBC’s name on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office-backed Arabic and Persian television services are all political.

    Because of the argument that this case is somehow worse, will only natural disaster appeals like the one for the Asian Tsunami will be allowed from now on, when Darfur and the Congo have been shown in the past?

    I don’t believe that politicans should have commented on this story at all but I do agree with Douglas Alexander saying that the audience knows that an appeal is not the same as news, just as we know that the BBC does not endorse the Party Political Broadcasts it shows in the UK. To say otherwise is rather patronizing.

  28. 28 Michel Norman
    January 26, 2009 at 14:33

    I am not sure about the BBC’s reputation for impartiality in this conflict – however i can sympathize with their posiiton here – yes the humanitarian crisis in Gaza needs to be addressed, which is why Israel ahs been sending in 200 trucks a day and has set up a field hospital at Erez – unfortunately Hammas uses and controls humanitarian aid as one of the means to get support and as cover for its terrorist activities – so that very much complicates matters . Airing an advert for aid to be channeled through the legitimate PA government is somethign that everyone would support – and to show impartiality the BBC could also air adverts for help for the Israeli Children who have been psychologically damaged by spending 8 years as moving targets for Hammas rockets, the children of Zimbabwe, who unlike their Gazan counterparts did not actually elect their leaders and support their racist policies.

  29. 29 Bob Pitt
    January 26, 2009 at 14:33

    The role of the BBC is to inform, educate and entertain. The charter then says:

    “The BBC may also carry out other activities which directly or indirectly promote the Public Purposes, but such activities should be peripheral, subordinate or ancillary to its main activities.”

    Hamas has said that all aid work in Gaza would have to be done under their supervision. This creates a conflict between the BBC’s stated aims and sections 3, 4 5 and 6 of its charter.

    This is a difficult decision for the BBC to make in the face of such pressure. Claims of cowardice by the BBC are plainly wrong. To stand up to this pressure is brave, and I believe, correct.

  30. 30 Natalie Limbasan
    January 26, 2009 at 14:34

    I think it would be utterly ridiculous not to broadcast an appeal by the DEC. The fact this question is even up for debate is incredibly sad and puts into question everything the BBC stands for.

    The aim of DEC is not to line the pockets of Hamas, it is to the support the people who have suffered as a result of Israel’s disproportionate attacks on the civilian population of Gaza.

    Not broadcasting the ad is what would constitute severe bias.

  31. January 26, 2009 at 14:37

    hey bbc please brodcast there apeal they are humans like you in the BBc

  32. 32 Melanie
    January 26, 2009 at 14:37

    By refusing to assist the people of Gaza, the BBC is behaving very politically, and acting in a highly biased manner. The BBC has publicised appeals before, for people suffering in Darfur, Burma, and other regions. Gaza is full of refugees – now many without homes, infrastructure, many wounded or dead. They badly need our help. Its totally unacceptable that the BBC is refusing to assist the people of Gaza.

  33. 33 Frank V Arnold
    January 26, 2009 at 14:37

    Far from protecting it’s reputation, the BBC has demonstrated that it is a prisoner of political forces rather than being an observer of world events. Impartiality would best be served by not giving in to any political forces and not abandoning a position of common humanity. The trouble now is that to save face the BBC thinks it has to stick to it’s guns, thereby further punishing the already battered people of Gaza.
    The license fee must, and eventually will go as will our (the ignored viewer/listener) subjection to the acts of the demigods like Thomson and Demezer.

  34. January 26, 2009 at 14:37

    Hi Madeleine:

    Thanks for the heads-up re other times in which the BBC has refused to broadcast similar such appeals. My question, though perhaps not that profound is, what does the BBC hope to achieve by pursuing this course of action, especially in light of the fact that there seems to be a unanimous agreement (?) that the BBC is, in fact, biased and that some of these biases are clearly articulated in some of the issues on which it reports?

    How is this different from carrying a perspective that some listners feel reflects a sympathy towards certain perspectives compared to others? And,

    Are there other ways of having this discussion about impartiality without taking what appears to be such a hardline position on this issue?

  35. 35 Bob Pitt
    January 26, 2009 at 14:38


    You said: “..and puts into question everything the BBC stands for.”

    What the BBC stands for is not in question, it is clearly stated in the charter. See the post above.

  36. 36 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    January 26, 2009 at 14:39

    The BBC has had to make a lot of judgement calls over the years to retain its reputation for impartiality. These decisions are not made lightly, and I for one have enough respect for those who lead the BBC to let them make their call.

    The situation in Gaza is emotive, as the current flap shows. The appeal has gotten a lot more publicity because of the BBC’s decision not to air it. Those who want to contribute to the fund are free to do so. Then they should shut up, back off, and let the BBC get on with its job.

  37. 37 Fardad Firooznia
    January 26, 2009 at 14:42

    Just listening to Mark Thompson claiming that playing an appeal for the Darfour conflict is in line with the impartiality BBC claims to hold in all its broadcasts while that for the humanitarian disaster in Gaza is not. What BS, if you forgive the language. All this decision shows is that BBC is controlled by the Israeli lobby. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am disgusted.

  38. 38 Hilary Arnold
    January 26, 2009 at 14:43

    Appeals for humanitarian assistance or other are by there very nature ‘biased’ to their particular cause.

    The BBC have exposed their lack of impartiality by NOT allowing a broadcast for aid to those in need.

    There is no explanation that the BBC can supply, which would explain such a politically motivated action, as it can be nothing else.

    BBC has made it quite clear that it has indeed “taken sides.”

    It is unfortunate, and mostly for those in desperate need of food, medical aid and shelter.


  39. January 26, 2009 at 14:44

    Hi – I think the BBC is doing the right thing in airing the controversy and having open debate of the principles involved. I think that the coverage should include more information about what is being asked, namely the address to which people are being asked to send donations. In this way, the BBC can transmit the critical information about the appeal without seeming to either support or resist it.

  40. January 26, 2009 at 14:45

    When the protector of BBC impartiality is forced to use “incursion” to describe Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza and “shelling” to describe the kiliing, the network’s credibility must be considered forfeit.

  41. 41 Onosirike Desmond Nnamdi
    January 26, 2009 at 14:48

    The decision of the BBC not to transmit the AID APPEAL for Gaza undermines its impartiality.
    The people of Gaza are suffering as a result of the three weeks military operation by the Isreali forces in Gaza. They need our support at this point in time.

  42. 42 Bob Pitt
    January 26, 2009 at 14:49

    Fardad Firooznia:

    If aid in Darfur were to be controlled by the Janjaweed Militia, the BBC would be quite correct in refusing to air the appeal. The BBC is not controlled by the Israel lobby, and such a claim shows exactly where the bias is in your argument.

    Just because an organisation does not support your opinion, it does not mean it is against you.

  43. 43 Andrew Jones
    January 26, 2009 at 14:50

    I guess the question should be if something such as this happened to Israel, would the BBC run appeals to send aid to them?

  44. 44 David Guinot
    January 26, 2009 at 14:56

    Critics of the BBC’s policy on aid appeals to Gaza conveniently neglect the fact that the BBC, like other News Organizations, already has enough difficulty getting into news hotspots because of local authorities’ impressions of its partiality. If we want coverage of these events to continue, we must allow the BBC to defend its impartiality “at all costs”.

    Further, criticism from ANY Mideastern source can be discounted out of hand because of their very real, and undisguised, bias.

  45. 45 Swornim
    January 26, 2009 at 14:59

    People have the right to say to air the appeal and BBC has the right to deny it.
    What right is mine then? My right is to present my view.
    BBC doesn’t want to air the DEC, fine. But in my view BBC should try to air something impartially. Maybe what they can do is show the devastation in Gaza and show what the Charity agencies are doing!! Good Idea, isn’t it? (THIS QUESTION GOES TO THE BBC TEAM.)
    In this way BBC will be able to maintain its impartiality. On the other hand people will obviously find out who is doing what. Then funds will automatically be generated (I don’t know from where it will come in this financial crisis!)
    See, Problem solved.

  46. 46 MarcusAureliusII
    January 26, 2009 at 14:59

    It seems to me that with the debate going on across nearly every blog site and reported in the news, DEC has gotten far more publicity than if its appeal had been aired. Therefore, why is anyone complaining. Everyone touched by BBC is now aware of it. Time to let it go.

  47. 47 Ogola Benard
    January 26, 2009 at 15:00

    Great to hear this. Journalist, according to professional ethics are not supposed to take sides.For a broadcasting corporation, decisions are taken at the editorial department on what to air and what not to air.This is called the “mirror image”.History has it that charities ever like to be recognized by personal name and organization over the press especially radio!
    Impartiality is one of the ethics for professionalism and besides that only upto date stories make meaning!
    I think the BBC’s decision not to air the appeal was right and should not be confused with other interests!
    MY question is? what interest are those pushing for the appeal to be aired have over the aid?
    Is it a mandate that that particular emergency aid appeal be aired? What is the political interest to those of the BBC “mirror image”?

  48. 48 Michel Norman
    January 26, 2009 at 15:01

    If Tony Benn and Claire Short are so impartial, why did they not appear at the salute to Israel parade in June and why do they not demand from Hammas that it abides by the quartet’s four principle. If Oxfam and Islamic aid are so impartial, why are they not helping the traumatized children in the South of Israel. If the Red Cross is so impartial, just as it sees prisoners of war and convicted terrorists held by Israel why does it not insist on seeing Gilad shalit.

    Perhaps i am going deaf, but why are these people not calling for the same preferential treatment for the children of Darfur or Zimbabwe – whose parent, after all, did not vote in mass for a party that denies its neighbors’ right to exist, fires rockets at its schoolchildren on the way to school or start a war and then use them as bullet proof vests?

  49. January 26, 2009 at 15:02

    @ The Producer,

    It appears that some of my posts have not been published, recently. The discussion Friday last, in relation to the whether America was a Christian country is the most recent example. There was also the debate about whether Israel could do what it wishes (with impunity, by implication).

    Now, my first post today has not appeared on the board. Is there a reason why that is? I have little reasons feel I am being censored. However, I am concerned about this. I do hope that my comemnts were not offensive, or long or both, as we have spoken at length on these matters, previously.

    Thanks in advance.

  50. January 26, 2009 at 15:04

    If the DEC can’t have access to the BBC to make its appeal, why can’t it use Arab news channels such as Al-Jazeera and Al Arabiya? Arab countries have pledged more than $1 billion in aid for Gaza. It’s high time they delivered it. The same applies to the EU and other countries who have pledged aid.

    The BBC position can’t be more sensitive than in the Arab countries. The BBC has now Arabic and Persian channels destined for viewers in the Middle East. The question is how credible will the BBC be for them or will the issue of airing DEC appeal on the BBC be used by its rival Arab news channels to discredit it?

  51. January 26, 2009 at 15:05

    The BBC was one sided for so long and called Hamas terrorists ‘militants’ and ‘activists’ for a long time after the EU and others officially listed Hamas as a terrorist organization and it only changed after it was forced to become ‘impartial’ by the ombudsman.

    It is therefore natural that it is now erring on the side of caution.

    It is wonderful to see the BBC finally refusing to take sides and hopefully the Guardian and the Independent will soon follow suit.

    11,000 is 0.018% of 60 million people which means that a minisucle amount of the public complained.

    It would of course be far better if the BBC started airing facts relating to the conflict and showed how Hamas used the Gaza population as shields.

    It is abundantly clear that very little of the money that was donated would actually help the civilian population as Hamas would filter it off as it presently does with food and gasoline.


  52. 52 Flavia Maria da Silveira Lobo
    January 26, 2009 at 15:06

    Of course you should air the appeal. It’s for CHARITY, don’t you know what the word means??? Refreshing your memory: it represents a universal concept not linked to political or national views or interests, whose aim is to help the helpless, the distressed, those in despair and in need of humanitarian actions whoever and wherever they are. Shame on you to even think of not airing it! Please do not disappoint me and very many of your readers/listeners.

  53. 53 Michel Norman
    January 26, 2009 at 15:09

    Hammas are insisting that all aid be channelled through them. As sheik Yassin the founder of Hammas stated Hammas is a bird with two wings – the armed wing and the wing that provides help to the population so as to win over their hearts and minds. the problem is not the aid, of course Gazans should be helped, but a basic requirement should be the acceptance of the quartet’s four points and a genuine desire to solve the entire humanitarian problem here, not just one side of it. And yes there is a real president for this – in 1945 Britain sent massive aid to Germany after that country had started a war, attacked civilians and put murdering Jews at the top of its national agenda – is there any difference from Hammas?

  54. 54 Madeleine Morris
    January 26, 2009 at 15:09


    I’m sorry for the delay in publishing your comments. We had nearly 400 to approve when we came in to work this morning and it takes a while to wade through them, as well as putting together our programme.

    Our apologies – we’re trying.

  55. 55 Luci Smith
    January 26, 2009 at 15:11

    The BBC ought to air the appeal.

    Human life is more impotant than the charter of the BBC.

    And our Governments must give aid, no matter whether the Israelis destroy everything again. Let’s let the UN and the International Court in The Hague haggle about the details.

    In the meantime, get HELP to GAZA!

  56. January 26, 2009 at 15:12

    The appeal should be loud and clear. It should highlight where the suffering really is. There SHOULD be no holding back on relief to suffering. a mighty International force in place should ensure no further such suffering ever takes place again.

  57. 57 Bob Pitt
    January 26, 2009 at 15:12

    Flavia Maria da Silveira Lobo: ” it represents a universal concept not linked to political or national views or interests.”

    Hamas came to power by building charitable social structure in Gaza. Aid distribution is one of the pillars on which it built its power. It wants to control any new aid distribution because this will shore up its power base.

    In this case, charity is anything but apolitical. This is the problem.

  58. 58 GE 'Skip" McLain
    January 26, 2009 at 15:16

    As a US citizen, it is necessary for me to have other sources of news (sources which I can trust as being impartial). I feel that it is their (the BBC’s) responsibility to report the news as they find it. To air an appeal for aid, an advertisement, would compromise their integrity. I support and applaud Managements’ decision.

  59. 59 Steve in Boston
    January 26, 2009 at 15:20

    Why doesn’t the BBC ask the Israeli consulate for an official opinion? It would be win-win for BBC. If Israel says yes, everyone is happy. If the answer is no, BBC can point the finger at Israel.

  60. 60 Boot
    January 26, 2009 at 15:21

    The decision must have been hard for those involved, especially given the apalling and deliberate abuses in Gaza — including the war crimes use of white phosphorous by Israeli forces.

    But it was the right decision and I respect the reasons for which it was made and admire the integrity of those who stood by their principles..

    Journalism must remain independent and unbiased. The nature of the disputes over this cause make it different to airing, say, a fundraiser for Darfur.

  61. January 26, 2009 at 15:25

    The are numerous ways to publicise an appeal for aid but the BBC is one of the few sources of news in the world that even comes close to impartiality. This is a real “head vs. heart” situation but, on balance, I don’t think the BBC should air an appeal for an area which is still such a subject of controversy.

  62. January 26, 2009 at 15:26

    Salaam Michel Norman from Baghdad… 1stly please be sure that I do consider the blood of any innocent civilian to be sacred, whether that innocent civilian is living in Gaza or in Sderot… You talked about the traumatised children of Sderot in your blog post, and my heart goes out to them, but with all due respect my good friend, to make a comparison between the ordeal of Gazan children and the ordeal of Israeli children is as absurd as comparing viral tonsilitis to brain cancer… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  63. 63 Daniela Verzaro
    January 26, 2009 at 15:26

    I think the BBC is already doing it, in an indirect way. The decision NOT to broadcast the appeal is being aired so often and complete with relevant information, that it is as if they were saying “We are not urging you to make a donation to such and such account number, because we do not want to appear to be taking sides”.
    Could any appeal be made more clearly and cleverly?

  64. January 26, 2009 at 15:29

    The lump the BBC and SKY News together is a mistake. The BBC is not solely a ‘news service’, and it is not, one trusts, a government agency, and it is not a privately owned corporation.

    The people suffering in Gaza from what is generally construed as being a completely over the top attack from a very rich and heavily supported nation do not deserve to be ignored, or to pay the price for decades of political and diplomatic ineptitude.

    Of course the BBC invites criticism that it is biased in favour Israel of the incredibly powerful Jewish media lobby. This was surely an obvious outcome of the decision and I guess nobody involved in the decision was surprised at subsequent outcome. If they were, well they really should be in the business.

    But then the BBC should cease all appeals for any charities, because charitable causes can in nearly all cases be attributed to political or government failing.

    I have an idea. Why not get Jonathan Ross to donate 1 of his 6 million pound salary to the cause! Recycle a bit of BBC licence payers money, feel good factor all round.

  65. 65 Maccus Germanis
    January 26, 2009 at 15:32

    BBC has chosen an odd thing to take a stand on. Their coverage of the conflict, as relates to repeatedly airing still yet unproven accusations against the IDF, (such as the shelling of an IDF identified shelter) was quite biased toward the presumed defender of Palestinians, Hamas. Now that the truth begins to trickle out (such as reported by BBC here, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7851545.stm,) the BBC seems to be overeacting to natural outpouring of sympathies. Perhaps the ad could be aired with a disclaimer citing the propensity of Hamas to sieze relief aid directed toward Gaza.

  66. 66 C. Slevin
    January 26, 2009 at 15:33

    I used to be proud of the BBC. Mark Thomson today has destroyed a lifetime of loyalty and credibility this morning. Denying help to charities who seek to aid the suffering in Gaza, may or may not be politically correct but it is definitely inhuman.

  67. January 26, 2009 at 15:40

    The BBC’s impariality would not be compromised if aid was for food and medical supplies for humane aid only, however if it was for donations of money then it would be wrong as it would be diverted to buy more arms for Hamas and that would definitely be political and senseless considering the past history of Hamas, in which case the BBC should have nothing to do with it.

  68. 68 Art Reed
    January 26, 2009 at 15:46


    I’m not quite sure what you mean “impartiality”. We all take a position, even in our reporting of “news”. Please take the position that humanitarian crises should be quelled.

    You have a responsibility that somehow has seemed to be dismissed by major media outlets, a social responsibility. You can’t be neutral on a moving train.

    Don’t be afraid of being accused of taking political positions on ongoing issues, when the position you take will affect change for those in desperate need.

  69. January 26, 2009 at 15:46

    How can you not put forward this appeal. We understand that this was the USA and therefore also the UK supporting Israel to take the lives of more than a thousand Palestinian men, women and children, as this was acceptable to do by us in the West. We also understand that the BBC is a key form of power created in the West, and has it’s values and paradigms rooted in Western ideals. However, we are not asking you to judge where the blame lies, but accept the situation for the problems that are there, and help as if they didn’t have labels and borders, and just as my brother or yours. For me that is real power. A true media.

  70. January 26, 2009 at 15:50

    The good thing about this controversy is that it has got people talk about the merit of airing DEC Gaza appeal on the BBC. The aim of DEC is to get the public involved by donating. Today’s show is to be aired for a full hour. This is more than DEC can hope for as it will be the centre of discussion. Usually a slot doesn’t last more than 60 seconds.

    The BBC has indirectly made great publicity for the DEC by engaging a discussion on this blog and on its sister site Have Your Say.

    It’s now up to those involved in this discussion, especially, those who are against the BBC move to decide how people in Gaza should get help.

  71. 71 A. Ward
    January 26, 2009 at 15:59

    It seems that by publically stating that they won’t show the appeal, the BBC has achieved far more than had they just shown it. As others have stated, it’s now headline news around the world – publicising the DEC beyond showing their original appeal. The BBC has also appeased those that criticised it’s reporting of the events in this war (many correspondents blatantly anti-Israeli instead of neutral) whilst taking a public pop at yet another instance of Labour interference in the running of a public institution.

    The fact that politicians felt that they could tell the BBC to run the appeal shows how out of touch the Government has become. The BBC remains impartial and is one of the few things that the British public have left to be proud of.

    I feel deeply for the people of Gaza, but while the war continues, it would be wrong for the BBC to air appeals on their behalf – the other appeals mentioned only happened once hostilities had ceased.

  72. 72 Peter
    January 26, 2009 at 16:02

    I ‘m convince that on a lot of issues bbc is already bias but to censor the appeal to help people in distress to give the impression that you are impartial? Do you think we are duff? Just look at the way you moderate this blog, one get to feel you are bias to some opinion but to censor the appeal? I have to give it to the bbc. In China the government stifle free speech . In UK the media block free speech.

  73. 73 Patti in Cape Coral
    January 26, 2009 at 16:07

    Hi WHYS:

    I think the BBC is in a tricky position. Going either way can be seen as biased, either for one side or the other. In the future, I think the only way the BBC can avoid being seen as biased is to say no to all requests for charity appeals, or say yes to all requests for charity appeals, so there is no difference perceived in the treatment of all supplicants. Personally, I prefer to err on the humanitarian side, but of course, I’m not a reporter.

  74. 74 gary
    January 26, 2009 at 16:11

    BBC must broadcast the DEC appeal. The injured and displaced Palestinians deserve care. Even if it were somehow believable that every person in Gaza bore arms against Israel, as injured and displaced humans, they would still deserve aid. Giving aid and comfort to the injured is not a subject for political debate; it is a humanitarian obligation. Israel itself shares this duty. That its supporters see fit to object to such efforts, gives me cause to worry about Israel’s spiritual welfare.

  75. 75 Mohammed Ali
    January 26, 2009 at 16:13

    “Andrew Jones
    January 26, 2009 at 14:50
    I guess the question should be if something such as this happened to Israel, would the BBC run appeals to send aid to them?”

    yes Jones the BBc will surely do.

  76. January 26, 2009 at 16:22

    It’s News then put it on for all to see. Partiality, huh! It is censorship not to cover The News Story. Selective News and how it is reported maintaining a public opinion is the reason Eric Blair (Pen Name: George Orwell) quit BBC. He saw the minds of the people being manipulated by design. Report the News as it is, end the biasing of public opinion. The truth is not just a mental exercise but does work else wise it is a dreamed up propaganda decree forcing the people to make it real.

  77. 77 sani
    January 26, 2009 at 16:31

    it leaves people like us with no choice but to believe it is n act of impartiality just like it government. we reduce listening to bbc and now refer to Aljazeera

  78. 78 Ibrahim, Baghdad
    January 26, 2009 at 16:34

    “Is it a public broadcaster’s job to air charity appeals or should it focus on delivering accurate stories about these conflicts and let people make-up their minds?”

    1- The “public broadcaster’s job” is: to broadcast!

    2- Why should this affect the “focus[ing] on delivering accurate stories … and let people make-up their minds”?

    3- In the appeal, replace the word “Gaza” with “human beings”.

  79. 79 archibald in oregon
    January 26, 2009 at 16:38

    BBC serves the public by the diffusion of information and understanding. Wherever there are people suffering and in need, it is inconceivable that those who serve the public and essentially make a living off of those public stories, would hesitate to air an appeal for basic assistance and restoration of simple dignity. Humanity always trumps politics, unless you are a politician. BBC was a world news organization, last time I checked, not a mouthpiece for the status quo.

  80. 80 Meir Avrahami
    January 26, 2009 at 16:43

    I suppose this is an example of extreme neutrality!

    In the end the rumpus will highlight the plight of those suffering in Gaza possibly even raising more money which will be good. What is not good is the bad publicity Israel continues to receive. BBC is highlighting claims of war crimes supposedly committed by Israel but such claims are nonsense. I hope I am wrong but I fear motivation is to appear professional in reporting yet none the less promote a very specific agenda.

  81. January 26, 2009 at 16:44

    Honest decision by BBC Chief Mark Thompson but bad publicity.

  82. 82 Nan, USA
    January 26, 2009 at 16:53

    It sounds like the BBC management’s own special blockade on Palestinians. It sounds like the sort of thing that happens here in the US where prominent news media and Washington politicians (including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) are beholden to the powerful lobby of Israel, a lobby working for a most ruthless and unscrupulous government.

  83. 83 Kristin Razsolkova, Bulgaria
    January 26, 2009 at 16:57

    It is reasonable for BBC to keep its commitment to impartiality BUT does BBC has clear criteria for what does it mean to be impartial as a broadcaster? Are these criteria, if any, valid anytime and in any situation? By broadcasting stories, facts, analysis BBC makes them visible to the world. In the case of Gaza it means that BBC does not give visibility to a humanitarian crisis and to part of the efforts to ease the situation. If impartiality implies seeing all aspects of a situation why then the humanitarian ones are not given their true value, why are they compared to political ones?

  84. 84 richard mshelia
    January 26, 2009 at 17:07

    bbc should not secumb to the pressure from the public and mps it should maintain its neutral ground

  85. January 26, 2009 at 17:08

    There is nothing wrong with telling people how they can help the people in Gaza, but to put a particular group on, which that’s what it sounds like is happening, is biased. List all agencies that provide aid so those who want to help can. I dont like the fact that hammas dictates where all aid goes. It should be distributed proportionatly to suffering.

  86. 86 Maria donlon
    January 26, 2009 at 17:11



  87. 87 Steve in Boston
    January 26, 2009 at 17:18

    The article carried on the BBC news web site says that the program is already being on ITV, Channel 4 and Five. Therefore, the BBC is in no way denying aid to anyone by refusing to air redundant programming.

  88. 88 viola
    January 26, 2009 at 17:18

    Biased airing of an appeal: “We urge you to contribute aid to Gaza by sending your donations to ________.

    Unbiased airing of an appeal: “In order to remain unbiased, we refuse to urge you to contribute aid to Gaza by sending contributions to _______.”

  89. 89 Sebastian Pernice
    January 26, 2009 at 17:19

    Shame on you, BBC! On the other hand, what could one expect from a corporate-run media propaganda rag with close ties to Ameican military-industrial complexes profiting from arming rogue states like Israel.

  90. January 26, 2009 at 17:19

    Come on BBC! When did we start questioning which human being should be helped by the rest of the world and which should not? We are not asking the BBC to put their hands in their pockets, we just want freedom of speech, which I thought the BBC stood for.

    Mind you, we don’t need the BBC, or anyone else, to decide for us who we help and who we don’t.

    Violence never stopped violence. And this violence isn’t about human beings it is about those behind the scenes who have always allowed, and even instigated and encouraged, violence to meet their own selfish aims.

  91. 91 Kemie
    January 26, 2009 at 17:23

    I am highly disappointed in the BBC’s decision. It has now confirmed that it is really partial because if it was the other way round. It would have aired the appeal if Israel was the one in need of humanitarian assisstance. This decision has also made it clear that the BBC is been influenced by Israel lobbyist. The people of Gaza should know that we are with them even if (BBC and Sky) is against them

  92. 92 Marie in New York
    January 26, 2009 at 17:24

    BBC has by its silence has already shown its support! It has bowed down to the Israeli demand for all stories to be flattering to Israel and Palestinians must always be described as ‘terrorist.’
    If the media’s task is to educate and inform then this decision is counterproductive. BBC has decided NOT to inform people and NOT to educate them about any need. A step down for certain.

  93. 93 Sara.....................london.
    January 26, 2009 at 17:28

    In my opinion the Gaza Appeal has been hijacked by British Islamist and leftwing supporters of Hamas.
    Both of these groups are committed to the destruction of the State of Israel and reject peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis on the basis of a Two State Solution.
    It is they who have made the issue of the appeal into a political football and they would regard the screening of that appeal as a victory for themselves and Hamas.

  94. 94 Samia in Boston, Massachusetts
    January 26, 2009 at 17:31

    Air the appeal! You will lose respect around the world.

    You will not be seen as being impartial. You will be declaring your utter bias to the whole world.

  95. 95 Rizk in Austin, Texas
    January 26, 2009 at 17:32

    Because of a bad political decision on the part of the BBC management, many Gaza children will probably not get the aid they should.
    This will move the BBC from the realm of news reporting into the realm of aiding and abetting an aggression.
    The BBC has blood on its hands.

  96. 96 Ivar Ekeland
    January 26, 2009 at 17:35

    In Gaza a civilian population in an urban area has been submitted to the horrors of war. There is no question that civilians have been killed, including women and children, their houses destroyed, and they are now destitute. If this does not qualify for a charity appeal, what does ? And what does impartiality mean in such a situation ? Has there been comparable destruction on the other side ? If so, then please make us aware of it. If not, then do not censor the relief organisations

  97. 97 Susan
    January 26, 2009 at 17:35

    I wholeheartedly agree with the BBC. Had an appeal been made for Israeli casualties, and the BBC complied, outrage would have been expressed. On the other hand if the BBC complied with the Palestinian appeal, there would be no outrage.

    Agitators for the appeal to be aired are pro-palestinian activists and shouldn’t use aid agencies or the BBC to endorse their cause.

  98. 98 Jordan Jancz
    January 26, 2009 at 17:48

    I’m curious.
    Has the BBC aired charity appeals in the past and if so could you name a few of them.

  99. 99 Curtis
    January 26, 2009 at 17:51

    During WWII, if the BBC had broadcast a newsreel that exclusively documented German civilians hurt by the RAF, that would have been decried as impartial, treasonous propaganda. Why is this one-sided appeal different from any other?

  100. 100 Evelyne, California USA
    January 26, 2009 at 17:51

    For quite some time now I have noticed that BBC News is just a repeat of the news we get here in the US on our TV. So I am not surprised that the BBC is acting this way. It is a remnant of Bush and his neocons handlers, and the enormous power of lobbies like AIPAC and JINSA.
    Our newspapers are just as bad. Has anybody read the Los Angeles Times lately? Nothing of substance in there.

  101. 101 M. Gibril
    January 26, 2009 at 17:52

    Sky is not broadcasting Gaza appeal. That is understandable. Sky’s owner is Murdoch. BBC’s refusal to broadcast puts it on the same side as the pro Israel Murdoch. Is that impartiality ?

  102. 102 William Liversedge
    January 26, 2009 at 17:55

    I do not support the BBC in not broadcasting the charitable appeal for the people of Gaza. By not broadcasting the appeal the BBC will be seen as favoring the Israeli Defense Forces. I believe the independence of the BBC would NOT be affected by the broadcast of this charitable appeal. To made sure that the BBC’s impartiality is very visible why not also broadcast an appeal for funds to help the Israel families affected by Hamas rockets?

  103. 103 Neil McGowan
    January 26, 2009 at 18:01

    “Does an aid appeal for Gaza undermine impartiality?”

    Clearly not.

    But Thompson’s servile sucking-up to the Zionist lobby has undermined the BBC’s credibility – terminally.

  104. 104 Vijay
    January 26, 2009 at 18:03

    Does an aid appeal for Gaza undermine impartiality?

    By refusing to air the aid appeal, the BBC has managed to create a story were there wasn’t one before,(if they had just aired the appeal who would have noticed)

    now they have annoyed everyone and therefore its decision making processes and editorial impartiality will be subject to scrutiny.

  105. 105 Justin from Iowa
    January 26, 2009 at 18:03

    The BBC should broadcast the fact that there is an appeal, what charities/etc are part of the appeal, and all the pertinent information about the appeal – both positive and negative. That does not necessitate that they run the actual appeal.

    Not reporting it at all is bias towards israel, airing the appeal without pointing out inconsistencies or analysis of it is bias towards palestine.

  106. January 26, 2009 at 18:03

    The human-being residing in me says; “Yes! By all means help the relief efforts for the people of Gaza and the hell with the consequences!” However, the business person tells me; “Back off! Let the world’s miseries go on as it has in the history of Man. It is, afterall, the only way that it can learn …”

    As for the BBC, it must go on reporting the world’s events and keep it’s impartiality no matter how horrifying the events can be.

    Best regards,

    Stephen from Montreal, Canada

  107. 107 John Baxter
    January 26, 2009 at 18:04

    I fully appreciate the plight of the palestinians however the BBC should not have to choose what appeals it shows and which it does not:It should show none. Worldwide there are a huge number of crises occurring most of which will be lucky to get any air time on western news programs. the BBC should concentrate on more comprehensive news coverage of all world events and not pander to those who prefer softer news just to chase ratings. Comprehensive coverage of world events would allow people to see where they want to put their charitable donations instead of giving a monopoly to one charity. if a person wants to make donations to a cause then they can look on the internet to find a suitable charity.
    This has nothing to do with the BBC pandering to the Zionist lobby. charities do a lot of good in this world but who is to say which get promoted. charities have a tendency to be fully self perpetuating. a charity that isn’t that effective will still grow if it spends a lot of money on advertising. charity appeals on television tug at the heart strings but what proportion of the money donated to them gets to the people who need it. The fact that there is such an uproar about this shows that this charity has a disproportionate influence and it will use this to undermine other charities in its own interest.

    News reports stressing that the people of Gaza need help is all the BBC should show. instead of repeated reports of this pointless controversy.

  108. 108 Terace
    January 26, 2009 at 18:04

    This is outrageous! How can we as one human race ever consider Peace to be attainable without the help of others. Americans have recently shown what a unified group can do, can we not move past war and the desecration of human life and land to find better means to forging a path to understanding our differences. This use of guns and militia is the same as a random act of violence. Invading a civilization and forcing them to live in camps forcing them to live without food, medicine & basic necessities. Bombing schools and hospitals is as violent as a terrorist completing his mission. Where and how do you draw the line? Hasn’t the human race realized that violence begets violence? Have we not evolved passed the stone ages? This barbaric display of force is truly a sign that there is certain civility that the Israelies lack.
    BBC & SKY you should be ashamed of yourself, journalism is to show the entire story not what those in power want the masses to see.

    Humanitarian aide is simply put, AIDE FOR HUMANITY….where is yours I ask?

    And for Susan who is still trying to draw a line between pro-Palestinian and Pro-Israel…Israel only incurred 13 casualties…the numbers are grossly disproportionate as well as the military force!

    Yours truly,
    A Human-Pro-Peace!

  109. 109 Jon in Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    January 26, 2009 at 18:06

    Thanks to the BBC for defending true impartial journalism. While listeners & even the BBC’s own interviewer seem unable to separate politically instigated suffering from victimization, many of us do.

  110. 110 Vijay
    January 26, 2009 at 18:07

    It was an own goal by the BBC and a commercial decision by Sky not to offend advertisers in the USA.

  111. January 26, 2009 at 18:09

    i find this topic really amusing because your show is undoubtedly the least impartial news source i can stand to listen to even occasionally.

    and your parent company is concerned about the appearance of impartiality?

    when i get done laughing I would recommend that you may as well air the appeal for charity.

  112. 112 Fred
    January 26, 2009 at 18:11

    I have not seen any news about pressure from Israel

    I have seen insistence from Hamas they they should be in charge of “aid ”

    The BBC is normally biased agangst Israel so is not perceived as being impartial

    Most of the “charities ” involved have engaged in anti Israel political propagnda in the past -so they are not impartial .

    I find it strange that the BBC should make an issue of this

    Has not our British Government already promised £20 million pounds for ” aid ”

    Is there any guarantee that the “Aid ” will be used for proper redevelopemnt

    and not just to perpetuate the dependence on Aid which the UN and UNRWA

    and the ” Charities ” have promoted over the past 60 years .

  113. January 26, 2009 at 18:12

    NO! There is an old saying, “You reap what you sow.” The people of Gaza “sowed” in Hamas (a terrorist organization) when they went to the polls. Now they are going to have to reap the consequences, period.

  114. 114 Jean-Jacques Têtu
    January 26, 2009 at 18:12

    As much as I hope for aid in Gaza, I do feel that impartiality is compromised when an appeal for aid is broadcast. I think that the BBC keeping their impartiality will aif those in need more than an appeal, because then the world will be able to trust the corporation when they show us the atrocities that are being committed there. The truth and the facts are always more powerful than opinion.

  115. 115 Poko
    January 26, 2009 at 18:13

    Please, please, please, can your reports stop saying that by supporting the DEC appeal that one side of the conflict would appear to be supported by the BBC over the other?

    The Palestinian people were not on one side of the Gaza conflict, they are the innocent victims. The aid is destined for neither Hamas nor Israel…

  116. 116 Dee in Chicago
    January 26, 2009 at 18:13

    Congratulations to the BBC for recognizing its duty to its listeners. Please don’t cave in to the emotional responses. Your response is commendable and ethical.

  117. 117 cathy
    January 26, 2009 at 18:14

    I live in the midwestern US and I sometimes listen to the BBC but often turn it off because it is so biased. Interestingly, the TV BBC is not so biased as the audio. The BBC is clearly anti Israel & pro Palestinian (I am not Jewish or Palestinian by the way). BBC is clearly anti America but pro Obama. They are clearly pro Global Warming and there are other issues where they do not even pretend to be unbiased.

  118. January 26, 2009 at 18:14

    I agree with comments of Muhammad Asim Munir

  119. January 26, 2009 at 18:15

    It’s Chinese New Year :

    So I will use a Chinese Saying ;

    ” Fish rots from the Head ”

    BBC is rotten at its Head

  120. January 26, 2009 at 18:15

    I think Jordan Jancz above has an excellent point.

    Did the BBC air similar aid appeals after the south Asian Tsunami, after Hurricane Katrina, various wars in Africa, the earthquakes in Myanmar, Iran, Pakistan, and other similar disasters around the world natural and otherwise in the past few years?

    If the BBC is in the habit of airing aid appeals during other crises then it is appropriate to continue their trend. If on the other hand this would be the first appeal for aid that the BBC had aired then clearly airing it would be decidedly inappropriate if the BBC wished to maintain the appearance of impartiality.

  121. 121 Fred
    January 26, 2009 at 18:15

    I saw the schools reopened yesterday in Gaza

    Not one of the various people ,either injured or helping the injured

    who we have seen on TV look as if they were starved .

    Why are materials in such short supply when there is and was sufficient

    resources for rockets , missiles , and tunnels . ?

  122. 122 Michel Norman
    January 26, 2009 at 18:16

    Samir hits the nail on the head the aim is political to raise support for the political struggle of the Palestinians

  123. 123 Heidi
    January 26, 2009 at 18:16

    I absolutely agree and congratulate the BBC for not choosing sides. It is not the job of the BBC to pursuade the audience towards one side or the other. People on both sides are suffering it is up to the individual person to contribute to their charity. The BBC should not be used for that purpose.

    Heidi in New York

  124. 124 Bruno
    January 26, 2009 at 18:16

    I just can’t understand the stance of the BBC here…
    I feel the reasons are ridiculous and the BBC has broacasted such appeals in the past. Why is this time different ? Because Israel is involved ?
    I am deeply disappointed…

  125. 125 Steve
    January 26, 2009 at 18:16

    Your guest from Gaza, Samma, just proved the point, that it would be political, as he said if the appeal can’t be heard on the BBC, then people can’t become more anti Israel. He just damaged the case he was making and proving the point of the representative of the BBC. I did think the BBC was wrong, but now I think they are right. Good decision BBC.

  126. 126 Will
    January 26, 2009 at 18:17

    Intuitively it seems more partial not to air the appeal.

  127. 127 Evelyne, California USA
    January 26, 2009 at 18:17

    To Caroline Thomson:
    A lot of people do not have a computer to find a link to this charity. Would you have known of the Holocaust, and you could have done something to help, would’nt you have aired the appeal?
    So for impartiality, you are ready to let starving people and wounded children go without all the help they can use??
    This is a disgrace, Ms Thomson.

  128. 128 David Bamberger
    January 26, 2009 at 18:18

    The issue is that if the BBC raises funds for any controversial cause, it must take sides. There is ample suffering in the world, alas. Why should the BBC pick the Palestinians over, let us say, the people of Dafur, or the AIDS orphans, or for that matter the Israelis whose towns have been damaged by Hamas rocket attacks? Once the BBC declares the suffering of one side in a combat over all other sufferers, it makes the statement that those sufferers are the most wronged, and therefore loses its claim to objectivity.

  129. January 26, 2009 at 18:18

    How will the issue of DEC Gaza appeal affect BBC credibility, especially among the audience who appear outrageously against its decision?

    What if the BBC conducted a poll to decide if the public is for or against airing the DEC appeal?

  130. 130 Michel Norman
    January 26, 2009 at 18:19

    The coverage has been partial – here we call the BBC the British Brobaganda Corporation – As Caroline says, there is an Arabic service but not a Hebrew one, there are Arab reporters but not Israeli ones. I thought the coverage was very anti-israeli and pro- palestinian

  131. 131 Kirk
    January 26, 2009 at 18:20

    Companies shall do as they see fit. If that includes not broadcasting something, well, that’s their prerogative. It’s true: some folks may interpret such a broadcast as a categorical lean to one side, just as others may see it as a lean to another.

    Of course the BBC is impartial. That’s why we, as media skeptics, trust it. The BBC can stick to their journalistic guns while still encouraging public awareness by airing stories on Gaza, expounding upon the humanitarian tragedies in the manner in which they do best. As a consumer of news and information, I may also be curious as to just which agencies and programs are working to help those in Gaza, and possibly how other listeners might—of their own volition—contact such agencies to render their assistance.

    Just look at how much publicity the cause of aid for Gaza has gained from the ongoing controversy! More, perhaps, then may have been garnered through one measly broadcast?

    Well played, BBC.

  132. 132 James
    January 26, 2009 at 18:22

    It’s absolutely right that the BBC is upholding its standards by not broadcasting an appeal that could be seen to be in favour of one side or another at this time.

    It’s very clear that the BBC is not ‘for’ or ‘against’ either side and any suggestion otherwise is, in my experience, quite insulting.

  133. 133 Scott (M)
    January 26, 2009 at 18:23


    Yes, the situation and suffering of Palestinians is unfortunate. But the situation is not so dire as to warrant a international call for aid!!! This isn’t really just a call for aid, it is being done for POLITICAL PURPOSES!

    There is so much suffering and poverty all over the world that needs aid. Suffering brought about by pig-headed-ness on both sides doesn’t even deserve much aid. If aid should come from anywhere it can come from the middle east. If there is enough money to build tacky luxury resorts in Dubai then there is enough money to send to the Palestinians.

  134. 134 Cliff Rogers
    January 26, 2009 at 18:23

    “Does an aid appeal for Gaza undermine impartiality?”

    No. Unless BBC is in denial of all the destruction caused by the state of Israel,
    and the need to help ease the human suffering in Gaza.

  135. 135 Fred McCarley
    January 26, 2009 at 18:25

    Broadcasting a charitable appeal will not necessarily compromise the integrity of the BBC. The test should be whether or not the appeal attributed fault t one side or the other. Extending this comment, however, I think that the BBC has compromised the principle of impartiality in reporting the Gaza incursion by Israel. In my listening (which is considerable) there have been far more interviews with Israeli sources than with Palestinian sources. Further, in my view the BBC moderators, as opposed to the reporters in the field, tend to display a bias toward Israel. I depend on the BBC more than any other news source for unbiased reporting. Thus, i have been somewhat troubled by the reporting of this incursion into Gaza.

  136. 136 wimberlin
    January 26, 2009 at 18:26

    The BBC should definitely broadcast the appeal for the Palestinian victums of the Isreali aggression. The people at the top fo the BBC should be forced to go and help clean up a school or hospital in GAZA as punishment for their pig-headed and reactionary behaviour!

  137. January 26, 2009 at 18:26

    Caroline Thomson

    stated on Radio 4 that BBC reporting of Gaza attack was ” Exemplary “.

    BBC Reporters and others Reporters did not have proper access to Gaza.

    Please refer to Channel 4 Dispatches report.

    BBC reporter , Jeremy Bowen, has stated that he did not have the opportunity to report properly. He was relying on Arab reporters inside Gaza.



  138. 138 NoteCarver
    January 26, 2009 at 18:27

    Dear BBC,

    Although I don’t have a good understanding of the exact situation you are in, please let me say this:
    Do not give in to arguments like “By declining their request, the BBC has already taken sides”. They are simplistic (and populist).

    I have a great respect for your programs, and I encourage you to continue what you are doing with every story (big or small): find out the correct information without taking any sides.
    I believe your reasons for not giving in to pressure are correct and, whatever you decide, I ask you to keep deciding based on strong, correct reasons and principles.

    Thank you.

  139. 139 Madhan
    January 26, 2009 at 18:27

    BBC is in the businss of providing an impartial view on the events of the World. You are not in the Business of getting help to the sufferings of the World. i watch you for the News and not for me to find where to place my charity. I have to find some other Channel for that.

  140. 140 Roshan
    January 26, 2009 at 18:30

    Good morning!

    First of all, we are dealing with 3 separate things here.
    1. “independent journalism that is ” journalism of courage”.
    2. ethics of journalism
    3. the medium being used as a propaganda instrument.

    First things first!

    BBC has fared well in unbiased journalism. No doubt!

    Secondly, Ethics of jounalism means journalism without being directly or indirectly, politically, or financially or, thereof, for any such generation of finance for any party involved in either side of the story.

    From my point of view, BBC is not obligated to mimic the rivals or any other Tv or radio station to prove its veracity. The organisation is free to decide its interests.

    Three, BBC is an epitome of free press. Appeals of a cyclone, or chad crisis or the tsunami is humanitarian in nature. “People” got killed.

    Here an appeal would be seen as “Pro-Palestian” or “pro-israeli” appeal or otherwise , and hence, exploitation of a emotive nature of the media.

    Warm regards,
    May the pen be free!

  141. 141 Hugh
    January 26, 2009 at 18:30

    I think that the BBC not airing this appeal has actually given the issue more press and has made it more of a debate and therefore helped the cause in helping the people in Gaza. Personally I stand by the BBC in maintaining its impartial stance.

  142. January 26, 2009 at 18:30

    I think the BBC should air the DEC appeal for aid to Gaza. After all, you have aired other appeals for aid to conflict-torn areas, such as Darfur. The fact is, whoever is to ‘blame’ for the humanitarian crisis there, it is still a humanitarian crisis. People are suffering shortages of food, water and shelter and if there is something we, who live elsewhere, can do to help, then we would want to know about it.

    As a result of this whole debate, I went to the DEC website and gave a donation. So indirectly, your refusal to air the appeal has helped the DEC raise money it desperately needs.

  143. 143 Michel Norman
    January 26, 2009 at 18:31

    With due respect this palestinian crisis is different from Darfur, from the Tsunami appeal and from the cyclone in Bangladesh. Her the Gazans voted in force for Hammas, 500,000 of them attended a rally at which they promised to fire rockets at our civilians and mocked the refusal to allow the Red Cross access to Shalit. The people in Darfur did not start the war, noone asked for the tsunami or the cyclone – the palestinians did vote for war.

  144. 144 Kate in San Francisco CA
    January 26, 2009 at 18:31

    Shame on the BBC for becoming the U.K version of Fox news.

    Correct your mistake and broadcast the appeal for support for the suffering people of gaza.

  145. 145 adam
    January 26, 2009 at 18:31

    I have to support the BBC decision, this is a matter of keeping strict separation between reporting the news and influencing it. I say this sadly becuse I do beleive the people in Gaza deserve as much assistance as possible. Perhaps there is a compromise available.

    adam in portland, or usa

  146. 146 Anon.
    January 26, 2009 at 18:33

    I’m in the medical profession and have listened to the BBC for 25 years. I’m sad to say i will leave listening to the BBC if they don’t broadcast this Humanitarian appeal.

  147. 147 nathan sneddon
    January 26, 2009 at 18:35

    by not broadcasting this the bbc is be partial despite what it says, to me it sounds like they are not broadcasting it because the area is controlled by the hamaz if this was the isrealies then they would almost certainly broadcast it

  148. January 26, 2009 at 18:38

    I’m amazed that the BBC even hesitated. After all, it is a “humanitarian” appeal. Are injured children in a war zone less than human because their government is viewed by others as dangerous? One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. The injured and starving need assistance. The BBC should make the call, and just be specific: Don’t send any ammunition, just food and medical assistance.

  149. 149 CJ McAuley
    January 26, 2009 at 18:38

    ! listened to Mr.Thompson’s explanation/rationalization today on the World Service on the web. My immediate thought was this: it was pure bafflegab.

  150. 150 skip seibel
    January 26, 2009 at 18:39

    you cannot avoid taking sides on this war.

    when you expose the suffering in gaza, you support the lamentations of the palestinians; when you conceal the suffering in gaza, you support the lamentations of the israelis.

    the bbc exposed the suffering in gaza as well as it could when the war was going on, but the bbc also appeared to strive for the mythical and journalistically inexcusable ‘balance’ of things that are not equal by endlessly repeating the israelis’ statement that they were not aiming at the people they were killing. the bbc even aired–more than once–the israeli foreign minister’s request that we judge israel on its ‘values,’ as if israel somehow had values that are not perfectly obvious in its actions.

    your corporate spokeswoman says she grieves for the suffering in gaza. her words virtually echo those of the israeli politicians seeking to dissocieate themselves from responsibility for that suffering.

    you cannot avoid taking sides, and it is clear which side you have chosen. just admit it and move on.

  151. January 26, 2009 at 18:39

    If the Gaza aid appeal is politically motivated then BBC decision is correct, but nobody has claimed that it is. Even BBC director Mark Thompson did not argue that the appeal is politically motivated. Refusing broadcasting a humanitarian aid appeal seem to be political and partial (which BBC tries to avoid)!

    In any case, the fuss BBC made over that appeal attracted so much attention to it, much more than it would have received by broadcasting it.

    Thanks BBC

  152. 152 kpelly hezekiah
    January 26, 2009 at 18:39

    caroline thompson has got it all wrong. to carry such an appeal is PART of the bbc’s moral/legal/ethical duty as a journalism group. Not to do it is a failure. Whether it is planned or by natural occurance appealing for aid after disaster such as the Dafur and Tsuname is part of the ethics of journalism. Journalism is now not only reporting but through the reportage to be able to change the situation for the better.

  153. 153 E Travis
    January 26, 2009 at 18:40

    The appeal is a newsworthy event. Why not cover it as an on-going news story including the events going on, how the appeal is going, and who is involved.

    The BBC ought to consider its role in this and I applaud the BBC for considering this carefully and airing the issue to its listeners.

    The BBCs reputation in the news is considerable. It is critical that the BBC not be seen as partial to any particular cause. If there are examples where this was not the case in the past, it is not a reason to make the same mistake again.

    Air the appeal as a news story rather than as an advocate. I don’t see why this cannot be done. Do your usual great job of investigative reporting as part of the appeal and all interests ought to be served.

    Neither Israel nor the Palestinians hands are clean in this thing. The BBC ought to hold up its considerable “mirror” to both parties so the world can see the situation clearly.

    Keep up the good work!

    E. T.

  154. 154 Jake
    January 26, 2009 at 18:41

    I agree with the BBC on this issue. It is a terrible thing in Gaza, but it’s not just a humanitarian disaster. It is mostly because Hamas has driven their own people into the ground. This appeal justifies Hamas, and condemns Israel. I haven’t seem very many charities for Palestinians to be very neutral. They seem to be always blaming Israel. Therefore the BBC is right in not getting involved. I applauded the BBC for finally taking a stand.

  155. 155 Ogola Benard
    January 26, 2009 at 18:42

    Its interesting alot of people are giving their views about the BBC not airing the appeal but what is the other side of the story – the BBC has not told you “why” it did not air the appeal?

  156. 156 kpelly hezekiah
    January 26, 2009 at 18:42

    the situation in gaza may be complex but we are talking about the aspect of aid here. To try to bring in the other issues of interests of players whether political/economical is simply just wrong and that is what the bbc is trying to do here.

  157. 157 Liz in California
    January 26, 2009 at 18:43

    Would the BBC response have been different had the fundraiser been for ‘the victims of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict’?

  158. 158 Anya
    January 26, 2009 at 18:44

    In this case, if BBC broadcasted the appeal for humanitarian help, it would be infact implicit criticism of Israelis action, because Israel has been preventing or slowing down the delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza as a way to presser Hamas.

    BBC has had excellent coverage of this conflict, of people’s sufferings and needs of help.
    If anyone is serious of helping Gaza people they could do so without BBC broadcasting of the appeal.

  159. 159 Cindy in Columbia Maryland
    January 26, 2009 at 18:45

    As an American I listen to the BBC primarily because it is almost impossible to find unbiased news sources here. I applaud your decision and think you’ve more than done your part for the appeal by providing links and allowing it to be discussed on WHYS.

  160. 160 Stephen Albrow
    January 26, 2009 at 18:46

    Why does the BBC always boast of its impartiality? It isn’t impartial. Far from it.

  161. 161 Philippa
    January 26, 2009 at 18:46

    To those of you who worry about the money falling into the hands of Hamas: Why shouldn’t it? Hamas is popular amongst Palestinians because, unlike Fatah, it is NOT corrupt. Hamas, together with the UN, is the one Palestinian body that has indeed been feeding, clothing and educating Palestinians.

    As to the BBC’s decision: As faulty as it is (which it is), the BBC remains one of the best news outlets in terms of representing (too little, but still) the Palestinian point of view. Because of this, it is under constant pressure in terms of its budget (decided by Parliament), etc.

    If I have to choose between the BBC being cut back, and the BBC broadcasting the appeal, I would, very reluctantly, choose for the BBC not broadcasting the appeal. This story has been the best advertisement for the Palestinian appeal. All of you who believe the BBC did wrong: Give, even if it’s only a small amount, and let the BBC report on the follow-up story of the great outpouring of small individual donors who disagree with its decision not to broadcast the appeal.

  162. 162 Andy
    January 26, 2009 at 18:47

    this was most likely a difficult decision for the BBC, but shows like this one (supported by the BBC, and discussing this possible conflict of interest) show it’s effort at impartiality

  163. 163 Steve
    January 26, 2009 at 18:48

    Every Palestinian guest is showing how political it really is. He was blaming the Israeli government for bullying the BBC to now showing the DEC appeal, while the BBC representative just said that the BBC wouldn’t even cave to the demands of the British government! He admitted he wasn’t listening to the radio, so maybe he didn’t hear that. But I keep on hearing blaming Israel or blaming the Jews for this..

  164. 164 kpelly hezekiah
    January 26, 2009 at 18:48

    aid especially humanitarian should be devoid of all strings. please, bbc, forget about people seeing you as taking sides here. Just broadcast the appeal. for all you know the future UN secretary general or the doctor to discover the cure of aids is now suffering and in dire need with his mother now in gaza and the world stands to lose if that child is not helped by this broadcast.

  165. 165 Steve
    January 26, 2009 at 18:51

    Wow! Claire just proved how political this is! Good job! She doesn’t even accept that Hamas is a terrorist group that spends money that could be used to feed the poor on rockets? So this DEC money would be going to Hamas to fund military attacks on Israel? If that’s the case, I hope the DEC fails miserably and they should be classified as a terrorist organization.

  166. 166 tim d
    January 26, 2009 at 18:52

    Forget about impartiality or the BBC’s reputation,legacy or whatever other term or words you want to use regarding the BBC’s decision not to broadcast.
    There are children who need our help and these children didn’t vote Hamas into power. There are fathers and mothers who need our help too.
    Sure,call me a starry eyed leftist or whatever else you want but the world simply cannot politicize the suffering of innocent people caught up in this conflict.

  167. 167 Michel Norman
    January 26, 2009 at 18:53

    Why not make the Red-cross aid conditional upon their seeing Gilad shalit

  168. 168 Mike
    January 26, 2009 at 18:55

    I agree with the BBC decision.
    The situation is highly politicized. Obviously the people of Gaza should receive help. This aid must only be supplied under the supervision of a political institution. All aid must pass threw United National oversight.

  169. 169 Julie
    January 26, 2009 at 18:55

    I am facinated by this….I have just read an absurd comment stating that “Agitators…(for the appeal to be aired )….are pro – Palestinian activists…”
    no less! Well I never…I’ve certainly never considered myself to be an “agitator” or indeed an “activist”. However, I do consider myself to be a decent human being, and as such have been dismayed at the coverage I have heard and seen on theGaza issue. Who wouldn’t be appalled by the systematic murder of civilians anywhere?
    In my opinion the BBC have clearly demonstrated their partiality by this decision, and it seems to be in favour of a government that has at it’s heart a profound desire to exterminate another people. For me the nationalities of either side are irrelevant, a point that is clearly wasted in this debate.
    Surely the only issue is that a community somewhere has been totally devestated and needs help and if the appeal is aired the public are more than capable of deciding whether they wish to support that community or not………Or could it be that the pro – Israeli activists have got to the BBC, just like they’ve got to the government on both sides of the Atlantic? …Now there’s a thought…

  170. 170 M. Carter
    January 26, 2009 at 18:55

    The BBC itself has made this situation (Gaza Aid Appeal) a political issue by not carrying this humanitarian appeal as it normally would. The World Service is not just a news service.

  171. 171 Leo in Amsterdam
    January 26, 2009 at 18:56

    I commend the BBC for their stance on the appeal broadcast.

    At this point, broadcasting an appeal broadcast is a political if not a bellicose action.

  172. 172 Steve
    January 26, 2009 at 18:56

    Just as reminder, the BBC hasn’t typicall been impartial, remember when Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza? He would be described as a “friend of the Palestinian People” in an attempt to get sympathy to have him freed. How impartial could you be if you truly were a “friend” of the Palestinian people?

    So let’s be honest here, the BBC isn’t 100% impartial, as it’s impossible to be truly impartial.

  173. 173 Beth
    January 26, 2009 at 18:57

    You speak of maintaining your impartiality in reporting the news. However, in your story today titled “Likud allow settlement expansion,” immediately below the title you show a picture of Benyamin Netanyahu & Tony Blair smiling & shaking hands. At first glance it looks as if Tony Blair approves of settlement expansion. If I hadn’t read the article in its entirety I would never have know that “Mr. Blair’s reaction to Mr Netanyahu’s statement is not recorded” which is only cited in the second to the last paragraph of the article. I believe this to border on misrepresentation of the facts. So much for your impartiality in reporting the news. I am disappointed in the BBC. I have relied on the BBC for years for reporting the facts, unbiased.

  174. 174 DL
    January 26, 2009 at 18:58

    You do realize that by talking about this on the air, you’ve actually “aired” it and given the issue quite a boost?

  175. January 26, 2009 at 18:58

    The BBC doesn’t broadcast every appeal that is made by aid organisations. The BBC shouldn’t favour one appeal over another. I don’t think it should broadcast any appeals. This appeal can be viewed on ITV, Channel 4 and Five. Therefore if people want to see it, they’ll be able to do so. It’s like live Premier League football. The BBC doesn’t show that, so if we want to see it, we have to watch it on other channels. The appeal shouldn’t be so weak that the success of it depends on it being shown on the BBC.

  176. 176 kpelly hezekiah
    January 26, 2009 at 18:58

    caroline thompson has rather put a political spin on this appeal. Who in his right sense(excuse my blunt word) would equate a simple appeal of humanitarian aid to a suffering people as taking sides politically. Then I would like to state here that the broadcast of appeal for Dafur is taking political side and Umar Bashir is right but everybody knows that to think like that would and is WRONG. The same apply to the Gaza situation. Am I smelling some double standards here?

  177. 177 Keegan
    January 26, 2009 at 18:58

    I have been listening for the past few months since the BBC world service re-established its presence in Trinidad and Tobago. I found the war reporting to be extremely pro-Palestinian, especially in the last week, if they were to run this charity event on television, it would further lower my view of the BBC.

  178. 178 Gimia in Pittsburgh, PA
    January 26, 2009 at 18:59

    I can’t believe what’s going on at the moment at the BBC. I am absolutely disappointed and indeed embarrassed by the stance of the BBC on running a mere humanitarian aid appeal for poor Gazans. With this development I really don’t know where to draw the line between the BBC and the USA who will negotiate and then abstain from the UN voting on a ceasefire in the Gaza-Israeli conflict.

  179. 179 Michel Norman
    January 26, 2009 at 18:59

    Their is no Israeli interest in stopping aid – the very oppopsite is the truth

  180. 180 Lovemore
    January 26, 2009 at 19:00

    The excessive bashing of BBC is causing me to suspect there is more to this appeal than meets the eye. Who else intends to benefit from it?


  181. 181 DAT
    January 26, 2009 at 19:01

    When the Tsunami hit in December of 2004, BBC rang the alarm bell,
    for the victims of the Tsunami.
    BBC was front and center, sounding the alarm, with
    articles such as “Asia: How to help”.

    The attack on Palestinians in Gaza
    is no less a catastrophe than was
    the Tsunami.

    BBC should be front and center in securing help for the defenseless
    Palestinians in Gaza, the subject of such terrible violence.

  182. 182 Steve in Boston
    January 26, 2009 at 19:02

    After hearing the show, I now have to agree with the BBC’s decision to refrain from airing the broadcast. The Israeli/Gaza conflict is a highly controversial topic, and if the BBC wants to maintain objectivity, it must avoid the appearance of taking one side or the other.

    In addition, I tend to agree with the guest who pointed out that publicizing the plight in Gaza plays into the hands of Hamas, who cynically uses civilian casualties of largely their own creation to gain world support.

  183. 183 Andrew Allshitre
    January 26, 2009 at 19:03

    Forget about the damage to the BBC caused by Jonathan Ross and his silly telephone prank. The idiot Editor in Chief who made this decision deserves to be sacked for doing more harm to the Beeb’s reputation.
    Prague, CZ

  184. 184 Laurence
    January 26, 2009 at 19:04

    BBC – stop pretending Mideast conflict is balanced in the first place. The Palestinians are the oppressed and occupied. Israel is the occupier. By pretending it’s a balanced conflict, you are already showing your leanings toward Israeli hard-liner policy.

    To speak on behalf of the Palestinians is NOT anti-semitism, or even ant-Israeli. You should strongly correct, even admonish, people on your show who casually make those accusations.

  185. January 26, 2009 at 19:06

    I can not believe that someone dares to claim: “there is no Pro-Israel pressure groups that tries hard and for many decades to shape the media, governments and public-opinion in general”.

    The guest who claimed that such pressure groups are not related to the Israeli government in anyway cannot deceive anyone, not even himself.

    I challenge Mark Thompson, that when he took the decision not to broadcast the appeal, was thinking about such pressure groups, and not only journalistic impartiality.

    I would love to hear him saying that, “Pro-Israel pressure lobbies did not come to his mind when he took that decision”.

    It is too late now, the DEC is not going to be broadcasted by BBC, but BBC refusal have given the appeal the best attention it could ever had.

  186. 186 mete
    January 26, 2009 at 19:07

    I am not surprised at the BBC’s decision not to air aid appeal. It ridiculous to hear BBC’s impartiality argument. BBC is definitily not impartial. They serve only the interests av imperialists. It is disgustig to hear the argument av impartiality when people are dying. The slaves av imperialissts never feel ashamed.

    BBC has lost its credibility long ago anyway. I have never witnessed their impartiality, anyway. In every single news about countries like Venesuela, Turkey, Zimbamve, Russia, etc. you just hear one side av the argument. the other side is called natonalists, anti-democrats, old elite an so on.

    The only reason I listen to BBC is it makes me aware of the plans av the imperialists by their partial broadcast against developing worl and against the leaders who are fighting against globalcolonisation .

  187. 187 Mukul, Parsippany, NJ
    January 26, 2009 at 19:10

    I wonder how many of the people debating on this blog(especially those against BBC decision) actually will donate something for Gaza.
    I want to understand why airing of appeal on BBC is so important. There are other equally effective medium to spread the message that can be used instead of picketing BBC offices.

  188. January 26, 2009 at 19:11

    This is to do with humanitarian aid, nothing to do with politics. A very surprising stance to take for people in dire need.

  189. 189 mete
    January 26, 2009 at 19:23

    In my view BBC should give up the impartiality argument and take the side with the people who have suffered and suffering from Israils state terrorism. Hamas is the popular excuse today . what was the excuse when there was no hamas?What was the excuse when palestine was occupied? What was the reason when these people were bombed for hundreds of times in the past? By the way rather than talking about hamas over and over again why does BBC not make a really impartial program about the roots av Hamas, about who, which powers created Hamas and other extremist terrorist organisations. For example you can start with Wahhabism which is the creation of British Empire to protect their imperial interests

  190. 190 viola
    January 26, 2009 at 19:24

    The guy who was advocating for a separate NGO entity to broadcast appeals has a good idea. Then, after the news of any particular humanitarian disaster, listeners or watchers or readers could go to that entity to find out how to channel their contribution.

    BBC should stand firm for journalistic integrity.

    I saw something on BBC television recently that shocked me to the core. I had tuned into the hourly news broadcast when a portion of former President Bush’s departure speech was shown. In it, Mr. Bush repeatedly and rapidly shifted his eyes back and forth from left to right and back again, making him appear to be a shifty-eyed, sneaky-looking liar. I then turned to CNN’s coverage of the same speech and to my amazement it was totally different. No longer jerky and shifty-eyed, Mr. Bush appeared the same as he did in other speeches by him that I’ve watched on television.

    I hate to say it, BBC, but it really looked like the footage you showed was edited to produce an image of George Bush that the viewer would look at and say, “That man is a sneaky, slimy, lying sack of Siberian sheep —-.”

    So, yes, tightening up your journalistic standards and reigning in your mavericks is definitely in order.

  191. 191 Monica Sandor
    January 26, 2009 at 19:41

    There has been so much said about this, but I have another thought on the impartiality issue, prompted by a piece one of the BBC broadcasters did from Somalia, I think, a few months ago. It had to do with why people may give access to the BBC and tell their stories, and whether they do it simply to get the news out to the world, or for more direct payoffs.

    The journalist in question went back to the same family repeatedly to track how they were doing, and after many interviews, the interviewee turned the tables on the reporter and said, essentially, so when are you going to do something for us, to help us? The reporter was a bit shame-faced, and mentioned that even if they could help the families with what for us would be an insigificant sum of money or other gifts, this would compromise the BBC’s ability to report the facts from either randomly chosen, representative members of the local population, or because of something particularly noteworthy.

    Were the BBC to start giving out “rewards” in kind to those who cooperate with them, then the news stories would very quickly be steered towards those who are most able or anxious to tap into this quid pro quo.

    For me, this may be the best reason not to air an appeal – not that it is biased in the actual airing of it, but because it may mean that in future, access to hot spots in the Middle East might be curried by one side or refused by the other simply in the hope of getting more out of it for themselves.

  192. 192 Cynthia
    January 26, 2009 at 19:51

    The answer to the question is no! The BBC has actually compromised their integrity. I suggest an apology to the people of Gaza along with an immediate appeal for charity.

  193. 193 Matthew Meagher
    January 26, 2009 at 19:54

    I listen to the BBC world service everyday here in Canada. I have always believed the BBC was impartial. That being said considering the current situation in Gaza I feel insulted that my information now must be sanitized to preserve impartiality. The reality is people are suffering and it is the responsibility of the media to inform people. The public can interpret that anyway they like, we do not need the BBC to decide for us who is right or wrong only to provide the information so that we may make informed decisions ourselves.

    Matthew Meagher

  194. 194 zachetto
    January 26, 2009 at 20:06

    The BBC should certainly broadcast the appeal.


  195. 195 Anam Hoque
    January 26, 2009 at 20:09

    As a TV Licence payer I am disgusted by BBC’s refusal to broadcast an appeal by the DEC to raise money for the destitute in Gaza . I find BBC’s excuse that it would undermine the Corporation’s impartiality as nothing more than a pathetic excuse.

    On the grounds that this would be impartial, why did the BBC not refuse to show Hamas rockets hitting Israel when the Israeli Government refused to allow international reporters into Gaza – denying the world the opportunity to see the devastation and war crimes they were committing in the coastal strip? I ask, was it not impartial to show just the damage caused by Hamas rockets in southern Israel at the time of the conflict?

    BBC, especially its leadership, must end its hypocrisy and overcome its prejudice against the Palestinian people. I request the BBC to kindly reconsider its decision for the sake of children and those wounded and left homeless in Gaza .

  196. 196 Judith
    January 26, 2009 at 20:10

    I really think nearly everyone writing is missing the point. I have looked at and listened to many of the aid agencies concerned and some of their reports I have studied word for word. I have been horrified at how political they are and how unsubstantiated their claims against Israel . It seems they can never raise money without blackening Israel in some way, in fact creating inter racial strife. Some I have reported to the Charity Commissioners for taking advantage of promoting their political views behind their charitable status . They are spending charitable contributions to do this. There are organisations like ‘Shevet Achim’ which do not do this , I mean stand in judgement against either side . ‘Shevet Achim’ means ‘brothers dwelling in unity ‘ They take Palestinians babies to israel for life saving heart ops and in those same hospitals Palestinian doctors from Gaza are trained .
    If the BBC has looked at what the Charities wanted to say and show then it is understandable that they would not wish to be associated with such bias .

  197. 197 Michel Norman
    January 26, 2009 at 20:13

    the first guest hit the nail on the head when he said that part of the aim was to raise support for the Palestinian cause. this situation is different from the other disasters – the suffering is caused because of the shutting of the borders which is in place because of Gilad Shalit and the incessant rocket attacks. Israel is trying to negotiate an opening of the borders, and end to the humanitarian crisis involving Shalit, Israeli children in the south of Israel and Palestinian children in Gaza. Hammas refuses to negotiate and sends its supporters like Red Ken and Claire short to fight its battle on its behalf, aiming to force open the borders without negotiating an end to the humanitarian crises. That is why this is political. The last reader was also accurate when she stated that the gazans overwhelmingly elected Hammas and its genocidal program. This is a crisis that is very much self-inflicted.

  198. January 26, 2009 at 20:13

    BBC presents the best, most balanced and unbiased news in this “24/7” news world. It is difficult to reply if BBC is right or wrong in not airing the Gaza Aid Appeal without 1)having seen the appeal’s content and 2) without knowing who the department (government?) or organization (NGO?) is submitting the appeal.

    This being said, if the appeal does not contain political statements and is purely an appeal for much needed humanitarian aid, then a disclaimer should suffice to cover BBC’s concerns re impartiality. Doesn’t BBC air appeals (paid advertising?) from aid organizations?

    Having worked for the past 29 years on humanitarian issues, including 15 years in the field during the SE Asian refugee crisis (many years of it being a war zone), it is inevitable that any given situation, particularly WAR, has “political” elements. However aid organizations provide humanitarian aid to innocent civilian victims of conflict. The organization I worked for in SE Asia provided humanitarian assistance to all sides in the Cambodian conflict without “choosing sides” (including in the Khmer Rouge refugee camps where the vast majority of innocent civilians in the camps were not there by choice, but having fled a genocidal regime seeking safety and freedom across the Thai border). The innocent civilians had not chosen to be in the refugee camps or “in the middle of the conflict in countries on the other side of the borders”.

    Humanitarian aid must be kept humanitarian and apolitical. With the caveats listed in the first paragraph, I do not see a problem with the BBC airing this appeal.

    [NB: “Chief” is misspelled in your first para.]

  199. 199 Carlos King
    January 26, 2009 at 20:19

    Good day.

    The BBC’s managing director believes that endorsing aid for suffering Gazans constitutes impartiality?! It is now official: The wholewide world has gone bloody mad!!!

    Has the Managing Director lost his mind?! Doesn’t any sensible person have his ear?

    The actions of the BBC are a damn disgrace; an insult to British civilization.


    Kingston, Jamaica.

  200. 200 John Vekris
    January 26, 2009 at 20:21

    I agree with Mohammed Ali: “Not airing the aid appeal for Gaza will show some partiality on the part of the BBC in favor of the Israelis.”
    I might simply add: . . . partiality on the part of the BBC in favour of the Israeli WAR MACHINE.”

  201. 201 antoine el-khoury
    January 26, 2009 at 20:31

    I listen to the BBC news, and depend on it for the in depth coverage of the Palestinians / Israeli conflict.
    I believe that the Palestinian people have suffered long enough, and need all the help they can get from the rest of the world. BBC need to do all that it can to make that possible. Israel is the terrorist here and the Palestinians people are the victims for many years now.


  202. 202 Thomas Murray
    January 26, 2009 at 20:37

    The BBC did the right thing, Carlos.

    A commercial network (one that runs advertising), could run the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal as a public service announcement (or PSA) — free adverts that fill an FCC requirement for a PSA quota.

    But running one on a publically owned network would open the floodgates for other agencies, and if temptations weren’t resisted, the BBC would become one giant wall-to-wall PSA announcement.

    It is enough to simply do a number of stories about it. For an NPR story on America’s rising unemployment, a female executive said she was just recently laid off, then she closed the door so her kids wouldn’t hear what she had to say next; and tearfully confided that without an income to pay the mortgage she was going to lose her house. By the next day she had another job offer.

    The DEC charity IS the news. So just report the news. The public isn’t stupid. We’ll know what to do next.

    –Sign me, Snowed in in Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  203. 203 Jim Newman
    January 26, 2009 at 20:37

    Hello again
    I think the BBC is pushing impartiality to the point of partiality by not broadcasting an appeal for the Palestinians of Gaza. Perhaps they were being leant on and now, God bless them, they’re being leant on from the other direction.
    Since the advent of Aljazeera I only watch the BBC and CNN for a bit of light entertainement and to find out what they’re censoring, although I find the Dohar debates exellent.
    Donations to help put the Palestinians back on their feet are always made in the knowledge that sooner or later the zionists will knock it all down again. Perhaps we should not only tackle the symptoms but also try to eliminate the disease – zionism.
    I rest my case and await the censor.

  204. 204 Andy W. (Boston)
    January 26, 2009 at 20:47

    The BBC is correct in not broadcasting the relief appeal from Hamas controlled Gaza. Doing so would unquestionably taint the BBC’s objectivity during an ongoing conflict.

    Further – where were the BBC broadcasts covering Israeli relief appeals for Southern Israeli civilians and children victims these last few years from Hamas rocket fire? Over 3,200 bombings in 2008 alone.

    Where is the uproar over that missing coverage?

  205. 205 Judith
    January 26, 2009 at 20:54

    But don’t you understand if the BBC looked at the content and saw it was very political and biased then it cannot show it as it would be endorsing only one point of view . How can you therefore judge the BBC ?

  206. 206 alan hester
    January 26, 2009 at 21:02

    The BBC does not need to justify its decision not to air the Gaza appeal. The BBC has proven that they are pro-Israel, and I will view all their news from now on as being pro-Israel.

  207. 207 Jim Richmond
    January 26, 2009 at 21:05

    The BBC is the world’s best and most impartial news source — that said from an American who tires of his own countrymen’s whining about the BBC’s “Anti-Americanism.”

    Report the news.

    Stay out of the Public Service Announcement business.

    It is a bottomless pit.

    And is being used here to undermine the BBC’s role and its integrity.

  208. 208 Asher
    January 26, 2009 at 21:10

    If the BBC were to give in to outside pressures it would mean that the British Licence payer would be funding Mob Rule.
    As a writer I have to accept that an Editor’s descision is his and his/her only to make, even though I may be disapointed by the descision.
    I can understand why the BBC (and Sky News) refuse to televise the gaza appeal. The point being that asking the British public to make contributions would be tantamount to subsidising the costs of food etc.
    whilst HAMAS uses its money to purchase weapons to fire on Israeli civillians.

  209. 209 don forbes
    January 26, 2009 at 21:14

    Of course the BBC should show the appeal. It is pretty disgusting to be sitting around in our comfortable homes and offices argueing the toss about “impartiality” when thousands of people are desperately in need of food, medicine and clean water. Come on BBC and show wsome backbone.

  210. 210 don forbes
    January 26, 2009 at 21:15

    Of course the BBC should show the appeal. It is pretty disgusting to be sitting around in our comfortable homes and offices argueing the toss about “impartiality” when thousands of people are desperately in need of food, medicine and clean water. Come on BBC and show some backbone.

  211. 211 Rebecca Martien
    January 26, 2009 at 21:40

    Wherever there is suffering, no matter who is suffering, always . . . always, and globally we must offer anything it is within our power to give, esp. when among the suffering are the innocent.

  212. 212 MarcusAureliusII
    January 26, 2009 at 21:41

    There’s a lot of Arab and Iranian oil money floating around from the time when oil was $150 a barrel last summer. Much of it is waiting on the sidelines looking for the best opportunities for investments to make profits. Brits on the other hand are rather short on cash now. Time for those governments and their rich princes and emirs to shell out some dough for a change…if they really care about the Palestinians…which I don’t believe they do for one second.

  213. 213 Azam
    January 26, 2009 at 21:52

    I absolutely do not understand how running an ad that is calling to help the civilians be considered impartial? I saw the ad and I think all it is trying to do is state the facts and not blame a group or country. While living in the United States, I still regularly go to BBC to get the unbiased news. BBC’s decision to not broadcast the ad certainly tarnishes it’s image.

  214. 214 bjay
    January 26, 2009 at 21:55

    Does an aid appeal for Gaza undermine impartiality?

    Undermine impartiality?

    If your entity is Incorporated (Ltd) yes, you are one way or the other impartiality out of the window.
    (because you interest lies somewhere else.

    bjay connotation with accent.

  215. 215 giuiseppe garibaldi
    January 26, 2009 at 21:56

    ok bbc show us your techical & theroretical political correctess ,you are british and all that ,ok show us the facts ,15/1500, and let us all tro decide who was the offender or the offended ,then stand back and listen

  216. 216 Jeremy in Miami
    January 26, 2009 at 22:13

    Quoting Matthew Meagher
    “I feel insulted that my information now must be sanitized to preserve impartiality. The reality is people are suffering and it is the responsibility of the media to inform people.”

    The BBC has and continues to cover the events in Gaza, choosing not to air this does not constitute an end to its services of information especially in light of how in depth the coverage of this controversy is.

  217. 217 Zaf
    January 26, 2009 at 22:14

    BBC’s reluctance to air the aid appeal just shows what sad state the world is in. Surely, innocent civilians who have just had their lives and families destroyed should not be denied any aid which they can get?

    One would have thought that this topic would have been the last thing which we would be debating about after such a horrific onslaught by the Israeli army. You are left to ponder BBC’s ethical and moral values.

  218. 218 Marija
    January 26, 2009 at 22:19

    I support the BBC view as a welcome change from the reporting practice of the 90s for example during the wars in Bosnia and Hercegovina and Kosovo and Metohija.

  219. 219 cole
    January 26, 2009 at 22:22

    I’m getting a good chuckle watching the BBC pretend to be worried about appearing impartial. The BBC stopped appearing impartial years ago. Any doubts anyone has as to the BBC’s political agenda can be clarified by a quick listen to their radio broadcast on the Bush Legacy. Please, Mr. BBC, just do what you want to do. Run those stupid commercials or don’t run them but don’t play your viewers as fools. We all know where the BBC sits. Don’t worry.

  220. 220 Tracy
    January 26, 2009 at 22:22

    The BBC has had a large role in making people aware of the suffering in Gaza. The natural urge by a listener is to help in some way.

    Not broadcasting the appeal just doesn’t make any sense.

    What happened to service?

  221. 221 Akim
    January 26, 2009 at 22:23

    First of all, I am glad to see the BBC is giving this story extensive coverage and allowing open discussion on the topic. However, I believe the BBC is wrong. It seems to me the most reasonable policy would be to air such appeals whenever innocent human beings are suffering, regardless of the political circumstances that led to their suffering. I do not see any partiality in that, and I believe it would benefit the maximum number of people in such circumstances.

  222. 222 Marija
    January 26, 2009 at 22:31

    Most of the previous comments can serve as evidence that people do not understand impartiality – what is expected is sensationalist propaganda.
    It is evident that what has been done to the Palestinians in not acceptable but just offering aid will not solve the problem.

  223. January 26, 2009 at 22:43

    Probably the most contructive comment so far.
    Stop bitching and work out how to start giving.

    @Mukul, Parsippany, NJ January 26, 2009 at 19:10

    I wonder how many of the people debating on this blog(especially those against BBC decision) actually will donate something for Gaza.
    I want to understand why airing of appeal on BBC is so important. There are other equally effective medium to spread the message that can be used instead of picketing BBC offices.

  224. 224 Kamyar Goodarzi
    January 26, 2009 at 22:59

    I am not sure what the fuss is all about. BBC could remain totally impartial by broadcasting aid appeal for all injured, Palestinians as well as Israelis and let the rest of the world decide on the aid package and its destination.
    Kamyar Goodarzi

  225. 225 jay
    January 26, 2009 at 23:13

    Unbelievable. I do not care either way about the ad – it is secondary and reasonable minds can, understandably, differ.

    Governments should NEVER pressure press what to report or not report.

    Sad to see the UK considering being cowered to join a group of please-the-majority (or even just the loud minority) spineless countries by selling-out independent press. This is the real issue = Freedom of Press.

  226. 226 Jim Chambers
    January 26, 2009 at 23:36

    The very idea that BBC is impartial is preposterous. I know these pompous jackasses consider themselves that but the rest of the world knows they are nothing close to that. I just watched a story comparing G. Bush with Obama regarding polution and the automobile industry in the USA. The blithering fool that passed on the BBC as a reporter made some disparaging remarks regarding what would not have passed G. Bush’s lips by way of comment. I abhor such pomposity and BBC is full of it, in more ways than one.

  227. 227 Jim Chambers
    January 26, 2009 at 23:40

    Additionally, only a Canadian would consider BBC impartial.

  228. 228 Adel
    January 27, 2009 at 00:35

    As a loyal BBC listenerI must say that I was deeply disappointed by the BBC’s decision not to air the Gaza ad.

  229. 229 setven becks
    January 27, 2009 at 00:54

    what happened to our humanity? it is really sad that the bbc is not rising the occasion , this undoubtably confirms that the bbc in far from being impartial , as a matter of fact it is caving in to pressure from the pro israel lobby . all i can tell u is that from now on i will boycott the bbc

  230. 230 Deborah
    January 27, 2009 at 00:57

    I am well aware that the Middle East conflict always draws strong opinions. I support the BBC for refusing to issue an appeal that has the chances of undermining its ability to continue reporting in the region. There are many other venues for such appeals. Demonstrators and MPs should calm down and focus their energies on ways to bring about peace in the region that is safe and secure for both sides.

  231. 231 Clara White
    January 27, 2009 at 01:37

    BBC has every right to make an effort to be objective. It is a difficult task in the divided, politicized world, where giving in to politically motivated pressure is common. I am proud of you, BBC! (0.19 seconds)

  232. 232 Tim Nagy
    January 27, 2009 at 01:43

    Any appeal for relief for Gaza is a kindhearted and appropriate gesture. It is absurd to consider such an appeal to be politically conniving. What kind of a world do we live in when a plea for help for obviously suffering men, women and children can be condemned as “partiality”? Partial for humanity, perhaps.

  233. 233 don forbes
    January 27, 2009 at 02:03

    I have just watched the appeal video on the Guardian website and I cannot understand why there has been any contoversy over it. It does not try to attribute blame for the conflict and does not even mention that the destruction in Gaza was caused by Israeli military action. It is a straightforward humanitarian appeal and there can be no excuse for the BBC not to air it.

  234. 234 Jyoti
    January 27, 2009 at 02:36

    I think BBC should air Gaza appeal on humanitarian grounds.
    It will no different be than child fund or world vision which work for humanitarian cause.
    In my opinion this should be treated as humanistic appeal and not politically biased.

  235. 235 John Smith
    January 27, 2009 at 02:39

    By now the point has been so talked over that the initial shock should be moot. Yes, by not airing the plea for humanitarian aid they are non-verbally supporting the Israeli government. However, by not airing the appeal they are actively not supporting the Palestinians. This is called impartiality. Presenting a matter from two sides. In any other appeal for aid it would be the same matter. It is hard to find a media in this era of instantaneous access that does not subscribe to sensationalism. The BBC has chosen to air on the side of traditional (and might I add, fundamental) journalism and not air the piece. This shows the determination of a group that will be lauded by journalism teachers for decades to come. It is too late to reverse the decision. I applaud the BBC for making a hard choice, and sticking to it, regardless of what the government and lobbyists says. If Parliament were able to change the BBC decision then the broadcast would be no better than propaganda. Unfortunately, the western style of media has gone the way of what story can give the best revenue. In doing so they have compromised what they say is true. It is good to know that the BBC remains a bastion of journalism, and will continue to stay that way. I can still believe the BBC is reporting the truth, even if it is not what I want to hear.

  236. January 27, 2009 at 02:48

    I would think that questioning where the aid is going is questioning the BBCs impartiality. Shame on you BBC.

  237. 237 C.Y. Lim
    January 27, 2009 at 02:53

    “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” – Albert Einstein

    Saving lives is more important than sitting on the fence discussing IMPARTIALITY!

  238. 238 Alik Sanders
    January 27, 2009 at 03:04

    The scale of the humanitarian disaster in Gaza and the number of the civilian casualties, which according the BBC itself, include a terrifying number of small children. I repeat, SMALL CHILDREN….. If all this does not qualify for a humanitarian aid appeal, then it is more than obvious that this shameful decision is politically motivated, taking into account the fact that the aid appeal is meant to focus on the humanitarian disaster itself rather than to pass any judgement on anyone!
    Sadly enough, over the past few years the BBC has lost its impartiality and become largely influenced by the Israeli lobby and this submissive attitude of trying hard to please the makers of the US foreign policy!
    I agree with Carlos King and John Vekris, it is a disgrace and an insult to the British civilization!
    I wish if the BBC managing director could answer this question: Why air a humanitarian aid for Darfur and deny it for Gaza? What is the difference in terms of human suffering regardless of the political circumstances?

  239. 239 John Peters
    January 27, 2009 at 03:30

    Well, let me ask you this BBC: If Allied forces had asked for you to run an aid appeal for the survivors of the Holocaust would you have declined to avoid being labelled as “partial” or “biased?” “Not comparable”, you say? Then you have just proven that you ARE making a value judgment. The very thing you claim you are avoiding by refusing to air the appeal.

  240. 240 Nicholas Union
    January 27, 2009 at 03:39

    Would any one be so kind as to define ‘impartial’ in the context of Israel and the occupied territories……particularly Gaza, please?

    Supporting a humanitarian appeal does NOT compromise the claimed impartiality of the BBC.

    A humanitarian appeal is just that.

    Ah but the pictures to sell the appeal……the aftermath of the most powerful war machine in the region going to war in a crowd of civilians…….not a good look for Israel…….What was Al Gores expression, ‘An Uncomfortable Truth’?

    There is a definite whiff of fear of the Zionist lobby…….who will be in ‘damage control’ in a media sense.

    Have the appeal in 6 months when the story is not so ‘hot’, ‘raw’ or ’emotional’……what a pity we can’t put the Palestinian suffering on hold until the ‘phosphorescent heat’ is taken out of the story.

    When did we last hear of how the rebuilding in southern Lebanon or Beirut is coming along?

    By NOT broadcasting the appeal the BBC is most definitely compromising editorial independence, and the likes of Mr Thompson know it. The new ‘King of Spin’.

  241. January 27, 2009 at 03:57

    It all depends what these adds will show.
    Would they show how Hamas used the civilians as human shield while showering Israel civilians with daily rockets?
    I do not understand why people do not see the tragedy of Palestinian people as part of the tragedy of most of the Arab and Muslim world.
    Their society has a mentality of the Dark Ages, maintained with Petrodollars and with an ideology of Hate.
    The Palestinian could have had the most advanced society only if their leaders would not have been imposed by Arab leaders and if they would Hate Less and Learn More.
    I think in this case BBC was right.

  242. 242 Dr. Abdul Waheed Khan
    January 27, 2009 at 04:10

    I really find the notion hard to conceive. I wonder how on earth a humantarian appeal can compromise BBC impartiality. In fact, it is by airing this appeal that the BBC will become impartial. I seriously think that BBC should not make it an ego problem and just reverse its decision not to air the appeal. This way the sentiments of BBC’s readers, listeners and viewers wont be hurt. We all respect and admire BBC for its impartiality and its steadfastness. Why should it surrender to the Israeli force. It is a question of life of thousands of human beings.

  243. 243 Roachclip
    January 27, 2009 at 04:29

    Mark Thomson, the Director General of the BBC, stated on the Today programme that the decision not to show the appeal was his. The reasons he gave for the decision were illogical and muddled to say the least. Now Mark Thomson is an inteligent person so when he proved himself incapable of making a rational justification for his decision I started to question his motivation. I then discover that the only other appeal he has vetoed was for the Lebanon after Israel invaded that country in 2006, and that he and his Jewish wife have recently visited Israel where they discussed the BBC’s handling of news from Israel with the Israeli Prime Minister. This has never been done by any other Director General of the BBC. In my opinion Mr Thomson the only thing threatening the BBC’s reputation for impartiality is you!

  244. 244 Tanielian
    January 27, 2009 at 04:42

    “The danger for the BBC is that this could be interpreted as taking a political stance on an ongoing story.” Not broadcasting it IS taking a political stance on an ongoing story. You have to make the Israeli goverment shameful for its action, so it won’t repeat it (although I wonder if that’s enough). Not covering the matter fully, by BBC, by CNN, or other TV news makes them a partner of the horrible and unhuman actions by Israelis. Killing innocent people to get elected, elected by fundamantalis israeli’s, is something to be condemned by the whole world and covered by all TV stations.

    I always considered BBC a better alternative to CNN, hope I won’t change my mind and put them all in the same category from now on…

    a Viewer from Canada

  245. 245 Nigel Moss
    January 27, 2009 at 04:54

    i don’t see why the bbc’s impartiality would be compromised by broadcasting an appeal for aid. the israelis, who i suspect think you are more partial to the gazan point of view than you are to theirs, would surely not complain about an appeal for aid.

  246. January 27, 2009 at 05:01


    This is a world issue.Just do it.
    No one should be shielded from what humans can do to each other as it is the truth which we face everyday of our lives.
    BBC will not be taking sides if they do proceed to air the GAZA appeal as it is just informing the public on a world issue.


  247. January 27, 2009 at 05:32

    Providing aid for women and children caught in the conflict is not taking sides. It is truly STRANGE that the BBC is hesitating. I am sorry if Israelis are offended by making the public aware of the suffering of civilians of Gaza but these are the consequences of war.
    It would be appropriate however to remind people of the daily fear of rocket attacks Israeli civilans live to provide some balance. Nevertheless the appeal should be aired.

  248. January 27, 2009 at 05:33

    It does not undermine your impartiality.Everyone knows what BBC is all about, we have faith in you for last so many years.You should air the aid appeal for Gaza, because your appeal really matters to people around the world.Please BBC help the people of Gaza by airing the aid appeal for them.

  249. 249 Salvatore Campisi
    January 27, 2009 at 05:54

    For Gaza & Israel as well !!!

    1) as long as you mention that the current situation is due to the continual rockets launching from Hammas to Israel for the last 8 years.

    2) as long as you mention that Hammas use innocent civilians to shield themselves.

    3) as long as the appeal is not an another excuse to air another umbalanced political message.

    4) as long as you mention that if the (small minority of violent) Palestinians would abandon the weapons there will be no more war.

    5) as long as you mention that if Israel would abandon the weapons there would be no more Israel.

  250. 250 Elizabeth Bergeaud
    January 27, 2009 at 06:02

    I wonder if the circumstances were reversed and it had been Palestinians conducting raids and invasions of Israel….would BBC broadcast that appeal for the relief of Israelis? You bet they would! To ask for aid for any people who have been bombed intensively, invaded, blockaded, and shot at is not a sign of paritialtiy—it is a task of human decency. BBC’s reasons for not doing so sound very hollow to me.

  251. January 27, 2009 at 06:10

    Please broadcast the charity appeal for the people of Gaza, they really need it, help them.If you take the initiative others will also come ahead to help them.

  252. 252 Michael
    January 27, 2009 at 06:48

    I hope everything would fine by the grace of God! But I think BBC is right to stay out of this because nothing is going to change no matter what, Everyone is blaming Israeli and supporting Palestinians (Hamas) no one trying to stop Hamas they are firing rockets continuously. Secondly I’m agree with one gentleman as he has stated that if aid should come from anywhere it should come from middle east because they all are supporter of Palestine (Hamas) and if there is enough money to build tacky luxury resort and so on in Dubai then there is enough money to send to the Palestinians. Finally who ever criticisining Israeli attack what about the people has been killed in Israel by Palestinians suicide boomer who blow themself and killing 100 of other innocent civilians. Why their parents not stopping them. Because to them Israeli are not human being. Everyone around the world who has same believe like Palestine is speaking against Israel but no one openly talks about the poor Israeli they are suffering day and night from rocket attack and so on. I am deeply felt sad for innocent children those are suffering by this conflict God! Bless their people and protect as he promise.

  253. 253 Marguerite
    January 27, 2009 at 06:50

    Neutrality is a respectable and important stance for maintaining credibility. If it is a policy of the BBC to not air appeals for aid to anyone then the matter is clear.

    However, it should not be political to give aid to people who are dying and suffering. Political alignment or not, it is clear that the Palestinian victims are more numerous than the Israeli and that there is less infrastructure for them to receive aid.

    A compromise situation may be to, rather than directly airing a specific campaign, give listeners information on where they can find information if they wish to help or donate.

  254. 254 Aida
    January 27, 2009 at 06:56

    I support the BBC in the difficult decision they have had to take. Not only would the corporation’s impartiality be threatened and its position weakened when it comes to future conflicts, but it is HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE that all funds sent to Palestiine get to their rightful destination.
    It is well known (and unreported) that Hammas “confiscates” aid supplies and then sells them on the black market to the civilian Palestinians.
    It is well known that funds sent to help civilians actually end up in Hammas’ bank account. … And I think this is a valid concern for the BBC, as it should be for all of us, and for those NGOs who claim otherwise.

  255. January 27, 2009 at 06:59

    Keeping in view of the impartial image of BBC for a long time it looks very strange that bbc is not airing such an appeal

  256. 256 Kirsti Rennie
    January 27, 2009 at 07:08

    Hi WHYS

    Go ahead, I reckon. If such an appeal undermines impartiality, so does Red Nose Day.

    A charity appeal is a charity appeal. Only if the Beeb was to air the Gaza aid appeal, and refuse to air a similar appeal (were it necessary) for, say, Jerusalem, would impartiality be compromised.

    The people of Gaza are in need, lets hear about it, lets help.


  257. 257 DW Higdon
    January 27, 2009 at 07:08

    Not to step on too many toes, but not airing or airing the show is up to the Media Director. For those who don’t like this decision, there are other media outlets from which you could receive your daily news (you are not slaves to the BBC). I personally applaud the Media Director for taking a stance, even against all of this opposition, that clearly states that a subjective boundary has been reached. The claims that bias is created by refusing an add is in err. If this add was to be ran, should we not also have to run advertisements for help rebuilding Israeli Towns that were hit by rockets, for caring for orphaned and injured Israeli’s as well. Clearly those claiming that the BBC is being partial by not airing this probably wouldn’t want Adds for Israeli rebuilding and aid on as well (because would that support Israel’s claim for the military action that just ceased?)

  258. 258 isidro fadrique
    January 27, 2009 at 07:17

    Turning the possibility of broadcasting an aid appeal for Gaza or not into a news is in itself a rather frivolous attempt by the BBC of debating the role of media and their own ‘impeccable’ record of impartiality. The case is beyond questions like that and the BBC should stop for once looking at its own belly button and do something, even at the risk of looking partial. It is a humanitarian issue, and the BBC is a rampant defender of humanitarian issues. Fear of incommoding some groups or political correctness should not be put on the scales here. They are not issues for the BBC when it comes down to attracting audiences. The BBC should not forget what is at stake: not whether broadcasting it or not, but what caused that appeal: human suffering in need of support.

  259. 259 Maelor Thomas
    January 27, 2009 at 07:32

    The BBC and Sky news are wise in not transmitting the charities’ appeal for Gaza. They both present unbiased views which could permanently damage credibility throughout the Middle East and elsewhere.
    In that area news is regularly deliberately misunderstood by one group or another. The degree of “spin” is extraordinary among the multiple single issue fanatics in that area.
    In any area where most of the population hold weapons, causing damage and murdering people becomes enormous fun.The “cause” is merely an excuse for such activity. What has always amazed me is who supplies the weapons and ammunation, and at what price? It must be cheap.
    The BBC and Sky are wise to stick to providing the news and must not run any risk of bias.
    The dispute between Hamas al Fatah and Israel has world wide interest. There is an opportunity for the involvement of several large nations.

  260. 260 Dustbowl Daoud
    January 27, 2009 at 07:34

    There are several fundamental issues that have been overlooked about the BBC’s refusal to air the Gaza Appeal.

    Firstly, the BBC is funded by a TV License Fee paid by the UK population only. Anyone outside the K who does not pay this fee, has absolutely no right to tell the BBC what it should and should not broadcast. Would Al Jazeera listen to a UK citizen if they complained the channel was “too Muslim”?

    It is totally laughable that callers from Bahrain or Tel Aviv phone up the World Service and tell the BBC how it should it act over a Gaza TV appeal. The BBC has millions of UK shareholders – license fee payers, who have no right to decide what is broadcast. How about the BBC asking its shareholders over this issue? Hmmm, there’s a good idea that will never happen….

    If the BBC allows this appeal, is this the start of advertising on the BBC and the end of the TV Licence? I would like to thank the BBC in advance for saving me a 139pounds+ “Tax To watch TV” if this is the case. I’ll donate it to the Gaza Appeal.

    The media generated debate about whether to air the Gaza Appeal has actually been self-perpetuating. The coverage concerning the BBC’s refusal not to broadcast, has by now actually exceeded any 5 minute appeal to help the people of Gaza. The appeal has been broadcast on the BBC anyway, albeit indirectly.

  261. 261 Jonathan Stark
    January 27, 2009 at 07:57

    I think it extraordinary that the directors of the BBC do not consider that in not publicising this appeal, the BBC is indeed acting impartially. The humanitarian reasons fo this appeal are indisputable. The organisation behind this appeal is apolitical and concerned only with humanitarian welfare. Its decision to mount the appeal should go unquestioned and it should be supported unquestionably. IN other words the humanitarian case is clear cut. In not airing this appeal, the BBC is compromising its impartiality by showing extreme sensitivity towards Israel and its supporters to the cot of those who are suffering in Gaza. This bias infavour of Israeli sensitivities and against the sensitivities of the Palestinians, their supporters and indeed all those who believe in humanitarian help whatever the circumstances when it is clearly needed.

  262. 262 Md Emdad Hossain
    January 27, 2009 at 07:59

    I believe BBC is a very impartial Organization for the shake of SOMETHING most important in the human civilized world. And it is trusted worldwide that Humanity is the most considerable SOMETHING. BBC also agree with this. Excepting the Humanity BBC could never be an impartial Organization.

    – Emdad, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

  263. 263 Mongi
    January 27, 2009 at 08:17

    Should or should not, Ignore sky, Most of us understand why BBC representative reacted in such manner, it has their own reasons
    History may remind us later and put next generation in the picture, if remember they won’t ever forgive.

  264. 264 Paul Woolley (Berlin, Germany)
    January 27, 2009 at 08:31

    I agree with the BBC’s decision not to screen the appeal.

    The BBC’s task is to report on current events, and its reporting of the Gaza situation has been clear. Anyone following the BBC will have been able to attain a picture of the background to the conflict, and of Israel’s reasons for reacting as she did – and will also have been in a position to form his/her own opinion on whether or not Israel’s reaction was appropriate.

    It would suffice for the BBC to (likewise) report on the fact of the appeal and let interested persons listen to the appeal on other channels or on the Internet. This would be neither pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian.

  265. January 27, 2009 at 08:42

    I think BBc must air the ad for humanitarian assistance of Gaza People. they are under great hardship. by doing so i think u people will not be compromising on partiality. none displaying of ad might damage ur impartial image.



  266. 266 Kees Ren
    January 27, 2009 at 09:00

    Dear BBC,
    I would suggest that you may want to be more transparent about this very issue on the radio. I listen to BBC World Service all the time and I hear very little about this issue.
    This is, first of all, about the independence of the BBC. Freedom of speech! Independent from political pressures. Independent from all sorts of biased “doo gooders” with their own biased mesages.

    Please don’t compromise your integrity. It would seriously affect your credibility. And that’s the only reason I listen to the BBC.

    Keep up the good work!

  267. January 27, 2009 at 09:16

    Quite amazing really how the BBC has such a strong following. Many here comment on its impatiality, yet claim disappointment at not airing some appeal which may [or may not] be partial to one side or another.

    Also some here say the ‘Gazans’ brought all this turmoil onto themselves for voting in Hamas. How ridiculous a statement is that, and not even worth responding to.

    Israel doesn’t give a damn about Palestinians, never has since 1948, simply want them out of the way.

    As for John and Mohammed statements above, words fail me on their comments. Just opinions I guess.

    The appeal will happen, aid will be forthcoming. Hamas will not go away, Israel will not bend and a feeling of de ja vous will once again be felt.

  268. January 27, 2009 at 09:37

    your service has been airing such like ads for Darfur & east timore, thoses issues were also political and they did not damage ur image.
    i think here compromise of image is not the problm. the real problm is that u people are really affraid jewish lobby. ur administration might under great presure from jewish lobby for not allowing u for airing such ads which can ease the agony of poor Gaza people. u r not impartial . BUT partial towards JEWs

  269. 269 Rita
    January 27, 2009 at 10:29

    I think de BBC is doing the right thing, i´m so glad that at last impartiality is prevented.
    I´m sick and tired of the pro – palastinian publicity and even more when it concerns the Hamas, which is en evil terrorist group.
    It´s about time the world stops the hypocrisy and the obsesion with the arab world and give a fair chance to both sides of the story.

  270. 270 Shamsur
    January 27, 2009 at 10:35

    How can the BBC claim to be impartial when they did indeed consult the Board of Deputies of Britih Jews about this appeal and than declined to air it. This proves they are pro Israeli.

  271. 271 Gisela Perez
    January 27, 2009 at 10:51

    I do belive that BBC should air a Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) charity appeal, not to take part in this never-ending political conflict, but to broadcast a humanitarian aid for a destroyed people. I do not think that by broadcasting the DEC BBC would undermine its impartiality and would take a political role in the conflict.Instead, I think that, by doing it, the coorporation would inform people around the worl and would conribute to spread he need for a humanitarian aid.

    I think the coorporation shold air the DEC as a proof of commitment with the international community, and a sa way to spread the plurality of actions and words around the world.

  272. 272 Danny Casteleyn
    January 27, 2009 at 11:15

    A humanitarian appeal has indeed more effect when broadcasted by a Broadcaster as the BBC, the change of being classified as bias increases however one has to see things in perspective. Those who will disapprove such a Broadcast might be a minority and be wrongly informed about the aim of such appeal. It can’t be easy to make such a decision but my reasoning tells me while striking the balance of Impartiality and contributing to help those who suffer it seems I would go for the latter. The BBC world service often does a good job while it is reporting as it represents as much different perspectives possible . Also when it is reporting about Israel and Gaza. However sometimes a journalist might sound tired or caught up in emotions and as a listener one should be aware of this. A manager from the BBC has then again other concerns then the journalists, there we have indeed sometimes the awkward situation that the decision taken by a him or her is not in line with the job of numerous journalists who try to do a good job. Rather than commenting on the whole of the BBC one should simply define the awkward moments and place them in the whole context of the organisation. I would see the decision as not Broadcasting the appeal as a regretful one but it does not affect my trust I have for the numerous journalists working for the BBC. Indeed the manager responsible could have just stressed that the broadcast is a humanitarian matter and does not mean taking sites on what informative broadcasting is concerned and for sure it does not mean that the BBC would help endorsing violent activities from whoever engages in such actions when broadcasted.

  273. January 27, 2009 at 11:35

    Hi All,

    I was shocked to read this article about BBC avoiding to give air time for Aid Campgain, all these years what i’ve been believed and told is that BBC is the only corporation on earch which is not BIASED about any perticular nation or religion or partly…but …now i can see that even. .BBC can come under influence of these so called EVIL nations.

    I request BBC to reconsider theire view towards giving Air Time for good cause.


  274. 274 Akhtar Kazmi
    January 27, 2009 at 11:46

    No it will not undermine impartiality of BBC but it will be considered help for fellow humans in diar need of help.

  275. January 27, 2009 at 11:57

    Does an appeal for Gaza undermine impartiality?
    injured people ,confinde in the hospitals are deserve sympathy,so BBC should air their appeal on humantarian ground.

  276. 276 komlan
    January 27, 2009 at 12:14

    dear bbc,
    will you be asking the same question if the charity was for Israel. I don’t think so

  277. 277 Sam Huang
    January 27, 2009 at 12:16

    I am afraid Mark Thompson has messed up with the BBC again and again after a string of embarrasments of bundles within the corporation. Queengate, phonegate, Russell and Rossgate. Now? Gazagate! He has shown an utter disrespect of the nature of the BBC, that is serious journalism. Since Greg Dyke left due to the dossiergate in 2004, he has messed up with journalists and instead putting all the hard earned licence fee-payers’ money to cheap and useless entertainments such as The Apprentice etc. I recommend the resignation of Mark Thompson because he is “not fit for purpose”.

  278. 278 Paul Barton
    January 27, 2009 at 12:19

    The BBC has made clear its policy with this decision. This is that there are two types of people (including children) in need of aid, the deserving and the undeserving. The undeserving are in this position of need through actions of the allies of Britain. Luckily the British government does not have this twisted view and are willing to give aid to the people of Gaza as are many British citizens.

    Whether we agree that the actions of our allies are justified or not, as fellow human beings we have a duty to help our fellow human beings when they are in need. Please think in these terms before deciding whether you will give to the appeal and not whose “side” you are on as if it is a football match and you have to show your colours.

  279. January 27, 2009 at 12:31

    It’s difficult to understand the BBC’s original analysis. So far I have seen their conclusions — that it would, or would appear to, compromise their impartiality. But I haven’t seen or heard their reasoning. I tend to accept the argument that a humanitarian disaster is a humanitarian disaster, and the context is largely, even entirely irrelevant. If people need help, they need help — and it runs to the credit of those who seek to offer it, especially when the offer is truly altruistic. Appeals for tsunami victims, for earthquake victims, for victims of epidemics, fires, you name it. What matters is helping. It is the humane thing to do.
    In this case the BBC, far from preserving its reputation for impartiality, has made itself appear to be capitulating to some sort of political pressure, the very thing it claims to be fighting against.
    It smells rotten, and the results are inhumane. I hope someone manages to get to the bottom of this — the telltale email, the note that was intended to be shredded but wasn’t, whatever it has been to create this bizarre injustice. Perhaps some labor peer is at the bottom of this. Or some friend of a friend.
    It’s a sad episode for the BBC. They could just about save their reputation by turning 180 degrees, but one suspects they won’t. Nothing if not stubborn and certain of their own judgement.
    Both Britain and Gaza deserve better.

  280. 280 Nick Lyne
    January 27, 2009 at 12:34

    The BBC’s refusal to broadcast the appeal is prompted by its own awareness that this is no ordinary humanitarian crisis. It has been brought about by one of Europe and the United State’s major allies, and has involved the illegal use of phosphorous shells against civilians, as well as the deliberate use of very heavy weaponry in close quarters to destroy non-military infrastructure, leaving Israel open to war crimes charges. By broadcasting an appeal to help the people of Gaza, the BBC knows that it is highlighting the dreadful crimes that Israel has committed, thus effectively condemning the government in Tel Aviv.
    BBC coverage of the conflict in the Middle East is always balanced in favor of Israel.

  281. 281 Glynis Sullivan
    January 27, 2009 at 12:36

    Well done BBC your impartiality will be affected if you air this appeal.

    We do not hear very much at all about the Israeli side in the media, they have only been depicted as aggressors, please have a balance in your reporting and don’t succumb to the rise in anti-semitism throughout the world.

    This is Holocaust Memorial day, let us not repeat the atrocities of the past.

  282. 282 Muthee
    January 27, 2009 at 12:37

    Dear WHYS,
    I think it is very hypocritical of you here and please stop playing with our psyche. you refuse to carry the aid appeal, and then as if to spite the world and the Palestinian people, you ask us whether that was right. Will it change anything? I am deeply disappointed.

  283. 283 G Unit
    January 27, 2009 at 12:40

    Israel was right to defend itself; Musim extremists know nothing but the language of force and violent…THEY are unreasonable. Long live Israel….signed…non-Jewish supporter of Israel.

  284. January 27, 2009 at 12:40

    One more thing…
    The argument that the BBC shouldn’t air the plea for assistance because it doesn’t know if the money will go to the “right people” is smoke and mirrors of the worst sort.
    The DEC is comprised entirely of reputable organisations — at least it appears so and I have not heard a single suggestion that it’s really a front for combatants. Of course there is theft and corruption in the Middle East, as in most desperately poor places in times of war. Desperate people undertake desperate acts. But it’s insulting to everyone involved for the COO of the BBC to suggest, with a straight face, that she is actually doing everyone a favour by keeping guns and rockets out of the hands of combatants. What she is doing — let’s be very clear — is keeping food out of the mouths of children, blankets and tents away from destitute families, medicines away from doctors, and so on. The people of Gaza deserve better. And, it appears, the top management of the BBC deserves to be sacked.

  285. 285 inusa musa
    January 27, 2009 at 12:48

    It unfortunate that bbc is saying that airing the humanitarian appeal will mean they are taking side well, their not airing same to my mind goes to show the support the zionist state of isreal enjoy from the west how can i be convinced that the supposed strong nations are subject of isreal? we have seen so much of your double standard,what is the next line of defense.

  286. 286 inusa musa
    January 27, 2009 at 12:52

    It unfortunate that bbc is saying that airing the humanitarian appeal will mean they are taking side well, their not airing same to my mind goes to show the support the zionist state of isreal enjoy from the west how can i be convinced that the supposed strong nations are not subject of isreal? we have seen so much of your double standard,what is the next line of defense.

  287. January 27, 2009 at 12:58

    i was listening to the BBc yesterday when i had the their head of operation saying they are not going to broadcast the appeal of the people in gaza i am loosing hope in the bbc and also am loosing my listing pleasure for the bbc.The bbc are heartless so i would say,am a student am felling for the kids there please bbc broadcast their appeal

  288. January 27, 2009 at 13:02

    hey bbc please broadcast the appeal for the people in gaza i would say a big shame to the bbc for not doing that am a student and am flling for the kids in Gaza please bbc broadcast the appeal

  289. January 27, 2009 at 13:08

    Hey Rita,
    i disagree with you saying the bbc are doing the right thing they are not.It is not a matter of pro isreal or pro palistine the people there in gaza are human and they must take care of.I hope you get sympthy for the people of gaza they are human like you.

  290. 290 Jim Newman
    January 27, 2009 at 14:05

    Hello again
    To Viola. After the events of the past eight years one could ask why is CNN still putting a slant on Bush’s image.

  291. 291 Thulasi
    January 27, 2009 at 14:07

    I am opinion that BBC’s refusal to call for aid to the suffering people of Gaza is inhuman.. If any people are suffering in Israil, BBC can call aid for them too simultaneously.. Instead to say that their impartiality will be at stakes is ridiculous. For E.G when an accident occurs on the road it is the duty of the by standers to remove the injured to the hospital even if the injured person was at fault and caused the accident. He may be a witness and called upon to give evidence in the courts later.At this point he cannot be considered partial ,just because he had helped the injured.
    BBC sometimes think that all their listeners are are set of IDIOTS and they cannot weed out the Good from the bad and the bad from the ugly.
    If UN aid agencies too think in the same way what will be the plight of the suffering people.

  292. 292 Bronwen Evans
    January 27, 2009 at 14:16

    I am absolutely shocked and disappointed that the BBC has blocked broadcasting of the Gaza appeal. This is not about being ‘impartial’ (whatever that means) but about humanitarian aid. People’s lives. The BBC allowed an appeal to be made for the people of Darfur -a highly ‘political’ situation. What is the difference? I urge the BBC in the strongest possible way I can to remove this block.

  293. 293 Alessandra Forti
    January 27, 2009 at 14:20

    Putting impartiality in front of human welfare is morally unacceptable. It is not Palestinian fault if the Iraeli are wreacking havoc and are causing a humanitarian crisis stopping aid reaching who needs it and stopping real impartial reportages from the ground.

  294. January 27, 2009 at 14:39

    It is essential for BBC to air the appeal of Gazans on humantarian ground.

    This is not a political issue,so Mark Thamson’stance has no footings.

    In case, they broadcast the appeal,it would be service of humanity.

  295. 295 Ricardo
    January 27, 2009 at 14:43

    I appreciate that the BBC does not want to broadcast the appeal in a fashion that could give the impression as if it is something editorial or BBC linked.

    But what´s the harm in making clear that this appeal is from an independent source before being aired – similiar to the airing of electoral adds.

    On a closer view the BBC with its protestation of wanting to be impartial and just stick to the news is disingenious with the handling of this contoversy. It should report on the appeal that is at the centre of the contoversy so that everybody knows what the appeal is all about in the firstr place.

    An “airing” of the appael in such a context would surely contribute to the enlightenment of the viewer in terms of facts. By not doing so, the BBC is activley concealing what is at heart of this controvery to detriment of the sober minded viewer and mature viewer.

  296. January 27, 2009 at 15:32

    Israel and it’s formation/creation is obviously too sensitive a subject.

  297. 297 Roberto
    January 27, 2009 at 15:51

    RE “” Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) charity appeal for aid to Gaza “”

    ————- There is no lack of aid into Gaza.

    The problem is what they do with the aid. These folks need better jobs than firing rockets at Israel and then wailing and wringing their hands over the results afterwards. As long as the UN and Islamic states enable this culture of death, there is no hope for the children of Gaza

  298. 298 Chen
    January 27, 2009 at 16:03

    Apparently, “impartiality” is more important than humanity for BBC.
    By the way, BBC did not hesitate to take sides in other controversies, such as airing the “impartial” war-mongering news before the Iraq War which killed by some estimate one millioin people and displaced 5 million. BBC’s impartiality seems to be a quite selective and works as a fig leaf.

  299. 299 Fred
    January 27, 2009 at 17:30

    I am surprised that you have left Shamsurs allegation on 27 Jan 10.35

    There is no proof that the BBC consulted the Board of Deputies of British Jews

    as anyone in the BBC can testify or find out

    Another urban myth and /or lie ?

  300. 300 Fred
    January 27, 2009 at 17:39

    There is abosolutely no truth in the suggestion that the Board was consulted or volunteered any opinion on the DEC appeal.

    I contacted the Board of Deputies of British Jews by email and have just

    receievd the above message by email from Jon Benjamin

    their Chief Executive

  301. 301 Guido Van Rossen
    January 27, 2009 at 17:45

    Yes, to the Gaza appeal.
    The BBC could do more then just give objective information, especially in this case. You can take the easy way , not taking the many possible risks, and wait for the ‘others’ to take the so necessary actions. The ‘others’ will of coarse have their own reasons, to do nothing, with the exception of a to small group of people, like NGO’s , to make the difference.
    In the main time , innocent people who are for many years over their ears in the biggest possible misery are listening every day to the BBC service where the endless talking about their problems is not bringing them the so wanted change they are hoping for, for so may years.

  302. 302 Dan
    January 27, 2009 at 23:16

    Yes it does the BBC is no longer perceived as a credible news source. I for one find it difficult to understand why my favourite news provider would compromise their integrity. I even look at Top Gear in a different light.

  303. 303 Jessica in Atlanta
    January 28, 2009 at 01:52

    To Solimon F: You capitilize the word “Jew” as if were an insult. Can you tell the world what is wrong with being a Jew? People like you were the ones who sat back and let the Holocaust happen. Hating people for being Jewish is neither virtuous nor righteous, and Allah will NOT reward you for your hatred.

  304. 304 Syed Hasan Turab
    January 28, 2009 at 02:58

    Gaza & Stallen Grad kind of people dont need any aid.

  305. 305 Golam Rabbani
    January 28, 2009 at 04:02


    Its funny that BBC is claiming impartiality.
    Where was your impartiality during the Iraq war when BBC was broadcasting through something called embedded journalism? Did you know that the bad man Saddam Hossain was thinking of using his weapon of mass destruction, or whatever America or Israel says is right? There are a lot many people who know what is what.


  306. 306 David Ingleby
    January 28, 2009 at 09:54

    The BBC attempts to defend its decision by referring to the need to be impartial. Far from being neutral, however, the decision not to broadcast the appeal was a highly partial gesture. The overwhelmingly negative public reaction confirms this.

    In its reply to complainants the BBC claims that in Gaza, the issue of responsibility for suffering and distress is “highly contentious”. But the DEC appeal makes no statement, implicit or explicit, about the issue of responsibility and does not take sides in the conflict. As has been repeatedly pointed out to the BBC, the appeal is based on humanitarian principles and not politics.

    What the BBC statements reveal is a high degree of respect for the Israeli government’s standpoint that the inhabitants of Gaza brought this appalling fate upon themselves – that it is a just reward for their evil deeds. Why respect this view? Not only is collective punishment of a population contrary to international law – it reflects a mentality that the overwhelming majority of British people find barbaric and repugnant. In particular, children should not be killed or maimed because of the supposed errors of their parents. Clearly, Mark Thompson has a great deal of respect for the view that they should. Why?

    In short, the BBC’s reputation for impartiality has been seriously damaged by this decision. In the hope of retrieving what is left of it, the Director General should admit his blunder and resign.

  307. 307 John Smith - Jamaica
    January 28, 2009 at 14:39

    Dear all,

    I missed your programme looking at whether an Aid Appeal would undermind impartiality. My reason is simple, I have stopped listening to the BBC. After 4-5 years of constant listenership and faithfully listening to worldhaveyoursay when possible, I have become sorely disappointed at the reaon given by the Director General with respect to the Gaza Appeal. Nowhere is it stated that such an appeal could undermind impartiality, nay, I dare say that the decision borders on inhumane treatment inso far as the BBC has a global reach which could help raise money to assist those stricken by war and strife. I feel this is a betrayal of the trust I had in the BBC of providing more than just the news, but reaching out to persons by airing Human Interest Stories. All the work done by presents such as Alan Johnston have now been dashed in vane by management figures who are more interested in not offending a select few than in bringing the stories as they happen. This is the story, there is an appeal. This is bigger than Hamas or the Israelis, this is about saving human lives, restoring human dignity and allowing fellow human beings to become more self sufficient despite the odds.
    My boycot of the BBC also extends to your website and I do hope others who share my belief in the sanctity of human existence will also turn their backs on this organisation.

    John Smith

  308. 308 Doel
    January 28, 2009 at 15:01


    I just want to commend Mr Thompson for his stand on not airing the Ad. In this Age there are less and less people willing to stand up for what is right. The British people always were considered a fair and compassionate people who were always evenhanded in what they did. When we look back at history and see the many times the British people saved this world from tyrants it is so amazing.. What a proud legacy!! Very little left of that in modern day Britain. This is why I must commend Mr Thompson on his stand. I know the Palestinian people are suffering but the Hamas are certainly not good for their people. Reports comming out of Gaza re brutality commited against their own plus the fear engendered by their regime is astonishing . If you want to support Palestine, don’t support Hamas. Israel has been painted as a villian but I don’t see them doing such cruel things to their own people as the Hamas has done to theirs. How can anyone support this? I know colonialism was considered a bad thing. But for the most part wherever Britain went they brought civilization, law and order and a respect for values of fair play. Thanks from Canada

  309. 309 julius
    January 28, 2009 at 17:31

    I feel good that the management of this respected news organisation has a process to review requests before they are either aired or rejected. I love to listen to the BBC. The reason being that it upholds the tenets of journalism. That is what is at the root of this Gaza appeal. If this was any other kind of humanitarian need I am sure the BBC will respond positively.
    I support the Director and commend him for the decision not to air the appeal.
    Gaza has been a humanitarian disaster for more than forty years and this time its by courtsy of Hamas.
    BBC is about to be blackmailed by those who seek to create disaffection amongst societies and thrive from the confusion.
    Why is this Charity group crying to the public to arm twist the BBC for making a routine decision? Hamas is a specialist in portraying agony to seek funds which it does not use for peoples’ welfare but to make weapons.
    The BBC would lose my respect if it aired the appeal,

  310. January 29, 2009 at 12:55

    “Does an aid appeal for Gaza undermine impartiality?”

    No. It simply means you support an appeal in the name of humanity. Furthermore, the appeal is not being organized by the BBC. Really, who objects to airing a third party appeal on behalf of homeless people? Even the Israeli prime minister claimed to wish the devastation caused by the attack could’ve been avoided.

  311. 311 Sar Chasm
    January 30, 2009 at 05:48

    Why not make an appeal for the victims of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? It is certainly impartial, they can and should use some of the money for the damage 8000 (very badly aimed — though that should not be an excuse for nothing) rockets brought to the beautiful Negev. I wonder how many rockets Hamas would need before they do not want to fight anymore. I hope its not 8000 though Hamas would say its not enough.

    There is a great lesson to learn from the struggle of the African people of America. Gaza would have been today a nice port town if the Arafats in the 1960’s would have understood the power the ideas of Dr. King represented. If they would have listened who knows, like America Israel might have a Palestinian PM. Unfortunately to this day, the people controlling Gaza fail to see the greater power of peaceful resistance.

  312. 312 Emile Barre
    January 31, 2009 at 15:02

    Only and idiot would ask this question about recent events in Gaza. But I understand this is a UK-based programme.

  313. 313 neil09
    January 31, 2009 at 21:47

    Does an aid appeal for Gaza undermine impartiality? NOT AT ALL! But it might if you are a pro-Israel fanatic or Zionist zealot who believes that Palestinians are less than human.

  314. February 1, 2009 at 20:53

    Shame on the BBC for not broadcasting the Aid Appeal!
    I have always watched the BBC because up to this point they have been the most professional, unbiased news channel there is.
    Until now.
    By refusing to broadcast the Aid Appeal you have become as unbiased as CNN itself.
    I don’t think I need to elaborate on this point.

    For Shame….

  315. 315 Maelor Thomas
    February 4, 2009 at 11:57

    I believe you took the correct action

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