Physician, heal thyself

A GOODLY number of Tories, friends of Israel, and Republican Party supporters in the United States were no doubt amazed when the BBC pleaded impartiality as the reason for refusing to broadcast an emergency appeal for Gaza.

Graham Dines

A GOODLY number of Tories, friends of Israel, and Republican Party supporters in the United States were no doubt amazed when the BBC pleaded impartiality as the reason for refusing to broadcast an emergency appeal for Gaza.

Conservatives have always hinted at the perceived left-wing bias in the editorial policy of the Beeb - dubbed the Brussels Broadcasting Corporation - which reached full fury when the BBC refused to broadcast The Falklands Play because it showed Margaret Thatcher in a positive light. The play, commissioned by the BBC in 1987, was eventually shown on digital channel BBC4 in 2002.

Pro Israelis have long suspected the BBC has an Arabist bias, and believe the coverage of the on-going conflict over Gaza between Israel and Hamas puts Israel in a bad light by focussing on the human misery caused by the bombardment of Gaza and not indicating that the onslaught was in retaliation for Palestinian rocket arracks.


You may also want to watch:


The BBC has all but beatified Barack Obama, jubilating at his election in a blatant show of partisan rejoicing. George W. Bush has been portrayed as a rambling idiot and the over-the-top bias railing against Bush for his slow response to the New Orleans hurricane disaster of 2005 could hardly be called balanced reporting.

No cause could be greater to a leftist's heart than Palestine. Which is why there has been bemusement at the BBC's refusal to broadcast a cash aid appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee for humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip.

Most Read

Sky News has now joined the BBC boycott, but ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 will show it.

John Ryley, head of Sky News, said: “The absolute impartiality of our output is fundamental to Sky News and its journalism. That is why, after very careful consideration, we have concluded that broadcasting an appeal for Gaza at this time is incompatible with our role in providing balanced and objective reporting of this continuing situation to our audiences in the UK and around the world.

“It is important to state that this decision is not a judgment on the good intentions of the appeal. No-one could fail to be touched by the human suffering on both sides of the conflict, which has been the focus of much of our own reporting in the region.”

The decision by Sky comes after the BBC was put under intense pressure over its decision not to broadcast the appeal. More than 10,000 complaints have been received about the BBC decision and it has been urged by a series of public figures including the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to reconsider its decision.

A parliamentary motion also urging the BBC to screen the appeal was backed by more than 50 MPs from across the Commons.

On balance, I think the BBC and Sky are correct, but not for the stated reason. Why should Britons struggling against the recession stump up cash for Gaza? If governments of the cash-rich oil states donated only a tiny amount of their revenues to helping Gaza and to establishing an independent Palestine, then the Middle East problem could be solved.

Just look at the obscene tourist playground being developed in Dubai. What message does that send to a stateless people who are starving and living in insanitary squalor?

Physician, heal thyself.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus