A response to the BBC's reply to my complaint,
Dear Mr BBC – You Just Don’t Get It, Do You?
Thank you for your response to my complaint. Just a couple of bones to pick, no, make that three:
So this is the crux of your argument:
“But there is a second more fundamental reason why we decided that we should not broadcast the appeal at present. This is because Gaza remains a major ongoing news story, in which humanitarian issues - the suffering and distress of civilians and combatants on both sides of the conflict, the debate about who is responsible for causing it and what should be done about it - are both at the heart of the story and contentious. - -
The danger for the BBC is that this could be interpreted as taking a political stance on an ongoing story. When we have turned down DEC appeals in the past on impartiality grounds it has been because of this risk of giving the public the impression that the BBC was taking sides in an ongoing conflict.“
Debate – what debate? You obviously didn’t click the link that read ‘truth’ – I implore you to spend the not-even-two-minutes watching Mark Regev of the Israeli government admitting that Hamas fired no rockets during the near five month ceasefire between June and November. The video also explains how the truce was ended on the eve of Obama’s election when Israel decided to bomb one of the tunnels and killed six Palestinians. I covered the event myself in this little blog entitled: ‘Big Brother Wasn’t Looking And Israel Strikes Again.’
As to what should be done about it, that is quite simple too. Going back to my complaint, I show quite clearly where you reported a mistruth and then invited comments:
“This is no excuse - the BBC is biased, as I made clear in the letter I recently wrote to the Foreign Office:
Yesterday I sent this comment to the BBC’s ‘Have Your Say’ question of ‘ How Can A Truce Be Achieved In Gaza?’
“We’re not going to get anywhere without honest reporting. In your brief summary you said during the recent ceasefire that Israel had eased it’s blockade. That was a condition for truce but was never enacted.”
As far as I’m aware the gradual lifting of the embargo on Gaza was a condition of the ceasefire but was never put into effect, at all. And I mention that in the above blog piece, open some border crossings, simple really, that is what should be done about it.
Basically then, the BBC is failing to see the truth but to your second point, ‘the risk of giving the public the impression that the BBC is taking sides.’ This is absolute baloney. What I am getting at, is that by your not airing the DEC Appeal for Gaza, you are actually siding with the main offender. Considering all, and there are many, allegations of war crimes being committed, this will not do. Both of my grandfathers fought during WW2 against Nazism, I am English, surely I should take that stance but no, the BBC wants me to remain impartial about a regime that is being considered as such. Again, see complaint, the Gerald Kaufman video, or look at these stark comparisons.
Now, to my third point of contention, this Mark Thomson fellow, are you sure that he is not of dual nationality? How can we as British citizens be sure that he is acting solely on our behalf? Here he is mixing it with another war criminal. Director General, are you sure he is the right man for the job?
any treatment at all for his wounds created by Israel’s use of white phosphorus.
This is worse than a case of SHAME ON YOU! It is an ABSOLUTE DISGRACE!
A J Silvera
PS: Would you like to join this Facebook Event?
Donate Your TV License Fee to Gaza for a month
Thank you for your complaint about the BBC’s decision not to grant a broadcast appeal to the Disasters Emergency Committee for Gaza . Your email has been formally recorded as a complaint by the BBC.
The decisions about DEC appeals are not directly a matter for BBC News. The BBC’s Director General Mark Thompson, writing in his capacity as editor-in-chief, has written on the BBC editors’ blog about the reasons for the decision. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/ You can read his comments there and you can contribute your own response, should you wish to do so. Mr Thompson’s comments are also pasted below.
A number of complainants have claimed that the BBC’s reporting of humanitarian suffering in Gaza has been inadequate. I believe that throughout the conflict that BBC News has done all it can to report on the consequences of the fighting. Here are just a few stories we have published in recent days:
“New evidence of Gaza child deaths” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7843307.stm
“Broken town shows Gaza destruction” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7836541.stm
“Phosphorus wounds alarm Gazans” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7848768.stm
“A father’s loss” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7848127.stm
The BBC did a significant amount of eye-witness journalism from within Gaza during the conflict. And once it was possible for foreign journalists to enter Gaza the BBC has committed significant resources to reporting and investigating the aftermath, as the examples above demonstrate.
Head of BBC newsroom
Article for BBC editors’ blog by BBC Director-General, Mark Thompson:
It's not often as editor-in-chief I use our 'editors' blog' to highlight a BBC issue, but with strong views about our decision not to broadcast a Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza, I wanted to write directly and explain our thinking.
When there is a major humanitarian crisis, the DEC - which is a group of major British charities - comes together and, if it believes various criteria are met and a major public appeal is justified, asks the BBC and other broadcasters to broadcast an appeal. We usually - though not always - accede to the DEC's request and as a result have broadcast many DEC appeals over the years.
A few days ago, the DEC approached us about an appeal for Gaza and, after very careful reflection and consultation inside and outside the BBC, we decided that in this case we should not broadcast the appeal. One reason was a concern about whether aid raised by the appeal could actually be delivered on the ground. You will understand that one of the factors we have to look at is the practicality of the aid, which the public are being asked to fund, getting through. In the case of the Burma cyclone, for instance, it was only when we judged that there was a good chance of the aid getting to the people who needed it most that we agreed to broadcast the appeal. Clearly, there have been considerable logistical difficulties in delivering aid into Gaza . However some progress has already been made and the situation could well improve in the coming days. If it does, this reason for declining to broadcast the appeal will no longer be relevant.
But there is a second more fundamental reason why we decided that we should not broadcast the appeal at present. This is because Gaza remains a major ongoing news story, in which humanitarian issues - the suffering and distress of civilians and combatants on both sides of the conflict, the debate about who is responsible for causing it and what should be done about it - are both at the heart of the story and contentious. We have and will continue to cover the human side of the conflict in Gaza extensively across our news services where we can place all of the issues in context in an objective and balanced way. After looking at all of the circumstances, and in particular after seeking advice from senior leaders in BBC Journalism, we concluded that we could not broadcast a free-standing appeal, no matter how carefully constructed, without running the risk of reducing public confidence in the BBC's impartiality in its wider coverage of the story. Inevitably an appeal would use pictures which are the same or similar to those we would be using in our news programmes but would do so with the objective of encouraging public donations. The danger for the BBC is that this could be interpreted as taking a political stance on an ongoing story. When we have turned down DEC appeals in the past on impartiality grounds it has been because of this risk of giving the public the impression that the BBC was taking sides in an ongoing conflict.
However, BBC News and the BBC as a whole takes its responsibility to report the human consequences of situations like Gaza very seriously and I believe our record in doing it with compassion as well as objectivity is unrivalled. Putting this decision aside, we also have a very strong track-record in supporting DEC appeals and more broadly, through BBC Children In Need, Comic Relief and our many other appeals, in using the BBC's airwaves to achieve positive humanitarian and charitable goals. This is an important part of what it is to be a public service broadcaster. It is sometimes not a comfortable place to be, but we have a duty to ensure that nothing risks undermining our impartiality. It is to protect that impartiality that we have made this difficult decision.
Finally, it is important to remember that our decision does not prevent the DEC continuing with their appeal for donations and people are able to contribute should they choose to.