View Full Version : Unbiased television journalism in action

David Guyatt
01-26-2009, 12:24 PM
The word "turds" comes to mind.


Sky joins BBC on Gaza screening ban
Monday, January 26 09:14 am

Sky News has announced it is joining the BBC in refusing to broadcast an emergency appeal for Gaza. Skip related content

The broadcaster said in a statement that it had informed the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella organisation for 13 humanitarian aid agencies, of its decision.

John Ryley, head of Sky News, said: "The conflict in Gaza forms part of one of the most challenging and contentious stories for any news organisation to cover.

"Our commitment as journalists is to cover all sides of that story with uncompromising objectivity."

The decision comes after BBC Director-General Mark Thompson defended the corporation's decision not to broadcast the appeal in spite of more than 10,000 complaints.

He said the BBC was "passionate" about defending its impartiality.

Meanwhile, the head of the Anglican Church has piled pressure on the BBC to screen the appeal.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, joined a chorus of prominent public figures and celebrities who called for the BBC to reverse its decision.

"My feeling is that the BBC should broadcast an appeal," he said.

Golden Globe winning actress Samantha Morton condemned the BBC's decision, which has prompted more than 10,000 complaints, as "horrific" and said she would never work for the BBC again if it failed to change its decision.

The advert was not a political message but "about raising money for children who are dying", she said.

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

David Guyatt
01-27-2009, 01:51 PM

MPs continue to condemn BBC and Sky
Tuesday, January 27 07:25 am

More than 100 MPs have signed an early day motion criticising the BBC and Sky News for refusing to show an emergency appeal for Gaza. Skip related content

Terrestrial broadcasters ITV, Channel 4 and Five showed the televised appeal, made by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), on Monday night.

The refusal of the BBC and Sky News led to protests outside Broadcasting House where demonstrators burned their television licences and occupied the buildings reception until they were removed by police.

Richard Burden, the Labour MP who tabled the motion, said 112 MPs had signed it by Monday night.

The motion rejects the "unconvincing and incoherent" justifications given by the BBC and Sky.

"The fact that well over 100 MPs from different parties have signed this Commons motion shows the breadth of concern about the position which the BBC and Sky are taking," Mr Burden said.

"The arguments that BBC managers have been putting forward in defence of their refusal to screen this appeal have shown themselves to be even more unconvincing and contradictory as time has gone on.

"Viewers and listeners can see the difference between a humanitarian appeal and politics - even if the BBC and Sky management cannot.

"BBC and Sky bosses have the power to make the editorial decisions they want; the rest of us have the right to say they are wrong."

Praising broadcasters who decided to show the appeal, he went on: "The needs of a child traumatised by war in Gaza are no more or less important than those of a traumatised child in another war zone.

"The BBC has had no difficulty in broadcasting appeals for war zones like Congo and Darfur. Maintaining the BBC's proud tradition of impartiality means it should treat Gaza no differently."

BBC director general Mark Thompson said the decision not to broadcast the appeal was "absolutely" in line with the corporation's broader approach to impartiality and appeals.

John Ryley, head of Sky News, said "absolute impartiality" was fundamental to their approach.

He said: "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."