Monday, January 26, 2009

Tu Quoque, Sky?

BBC staff protest over decision not to show Gaza aid appeal, Sky News follows BBC decision

The Guardian

shoe_protestThe BBC is facing a growing revolt from its own journalists over its decision not to broadcast the Gaza humanitarian aid appeal, with sources reporting "widespread disgust" within its newsrooms.
BBC staff have said they have been told they face the sack if they speak out on the issue and understands that corporation journalists will tomorrow vote on a resolution put forward by the National Union of Journalists condemning the move.

Sources have said there was "fury" at the BBC News morning meeting today about the decision, with news editors saying they had not been consulted on the move to not show the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal, which is to be broadcast tonight on ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five.

The NUJ and fellow broadcasting union Bectu both passed motions over the weekend condemning the BBC's decision. NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear and his counterpart at Bectu, Gerry Morrissey, will also today send a letter to BBC director general Mark Thompson asking him to review it.

Tomorrow the main NUJ chapel at BBC Television Centre will also meet, with staff expected to condemn the decision.

"Feelings are running extremely high and there is widespread disgust at the BBC's top management," one BBC News source said. "There is widespread anger and frustration at the BBC's refusal to allow people to speak out about it."

An NUJ source added: "It is the BBC's decision and we respect the independence of that, but we think they have got it wrong and should review it."

Thompson has said the corporation will not screen the DEC appeal because it could harm the BBC's impartiality on the Gaza conflict.

BBC management have said they will not change their mind on the issue and were backed by Sky News today when the satellite broadcaster also said it would not air the film.

The two-minute appeal is currently being edited by ITN and will be shown on ITV1 tonight before the main news at about 6.25pm, before being broadcast on the other channels.

Sources within the BBC have questioned whether its internal Balen report into its Middle East coverage, which the corporation has refused to publish, has influenced its decision on the DEC appeal. An appeal to the House of Lords to force the BBC to publish the report is currently ongoing.


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