The Meedan Blog Archive

UK press debates BBC decision to block Gaza aid appeal

Council for Arab-British Understanding London press review Tuesday 27 January.

The Daily Telegraph

Home News

Minister unhappy at BBC decision on Gaza appeal

Rosa Prince

"The BBC's refusal to screen a humanitarian appeal for Gaza has been criticised by Douglas Alexander, the International Development Secretary."

Gordon's plea for a rescue from Khartoum to be sold at auction

News Digest

"This 125-year-old plea for rescue written in Arabic on a scrap of paper by General Gordon of Khartoum is to be sold."

World News

We will not take any more Guantánamo prisoners, Britain tells America

Bruno Waterfield

"Britain told the United States yesterday that it would not take any more detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp despite an appeal from President Barack Obama for help from Europe.

Ex-bouncer is key to power in Israel

Damien McElroy

"A former nightclub bouncer viewed as an anti-Arab extremist is the main political beneficiary of the Gaza war and could hold the balance of power in a new parliament after elections."


Who takes the inmates?

"It was always going to be easier for President Obama to close the camp at Guantanamo Bay than it will be to relocate the 250 inmates still held there."


BBC's attempt to claim high moral ground on Gaza appeal is late and hypocritical

Robert Readman

"SIR - The BBC's claim that broadcasting a humanitarian appeal on behalf of the people of Gaza would breach its code of impartiality (report, January 26) will ring hollow in the ears of many."

John Wainwright

"SIR - After years of biased reporting on issues ranging from the EU constitution to global warming, how odd it is that the BBC finally discovers "impartiality" over a humanitarian appeal."

R. S. Don

"SIR - The Israelis constantly told us they were doing all they could to limit the damage to civilians and children."

Ian Johnson

"SIR - Douglas Roberts states (Letters, January 26) that "the Palestinians receive more aid per capita than any other people on the planet"."

Sally Williams

"SIR - I refuse to give money to the Disasters Emergency Committee for two reasons. One is that it is an extra layer of administration on top of the layer of the individual charity."

Sue Cooke

"SIR - I am planning to cancel my television licence and support the DEC, so that it can get on with its life-saving work."

Dr Peter Caddick-Adams

"SIR - With each controversy, support for the BBC has shrunk faster than the share price of a London bank."

Robert Vincent

"SIR - Am I to understand that, until the BBC broadcasts an appeal, none of us can help ease the suffering of the people of war-torn Gaza?"


Mocking the mullahs

Richard Dorment

"The contemporary Middle Eastern art in this Saatchi show is passionate and risky, says Richard Dorment."


Just adjusting the accounts by $8bn (Not available online)

Jonathan Russell

"Are Saudi corporates starting to take a leaf out of the Western banking industry's book of accounting?"


The Financial Times

National News

BSkyB refuses to broadcast Gaza appeal

Ben Fenton

"British Sky Broadcasting on Monday joined the BBC in refusing to broadcast an appeal for victims of violence in Gaza, as protests against the position intensified."

EU fails to agree Guantánamo stance

Tony Barber

"The European Union failed yesterday to overcome internal divisions on accepting inmates from the US prison camp at Guantánamo, taking the gloss off Europe's stated desire to use Barack Obama's presidency as a launch pad for a better transatlantic relationship."

World News

Netanyahu ahead as US envoy heads for Israel

Tobias Buck

"Benjamin Netanyahu is pulling away from rivals in the race to become Israel's next prime minister."


Unbalanced Beeb

"The British Broadcasting Corporation's decision to refuse an advertisement by UK charities appealing for emergency aid for Gaza, while ostensibly debatable, is simply wrong."


Root cause of Mideast impasse

Paul P.

"Sir, How disappointing to read Turki al-Faisal's essentially rejectionist position on the possibility of peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel ("Saudi Arabia's patience is running out", January 23)."


The Guardian

National News

How the call for aid to Gaza left the BBC in the thick of battle

Paul Lewis & Leigh Holmwood

"A televised appeal for victims of the humanitarian disasters in Gaza has been broadcast on all terrestrial channels except the BBC, which refused to back down on its decision not to show the film."

To show or not to show?

The BBC was wrong - Sharif Hikmat Nashashibi

"I applaud ITV, Channel 4 and Five for agreeing to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee's appeal to help relieve the humanitarian disaster in Gaza."

The BBC was right - Geoffery Alderman

"On the face of it, what possible objection could there be to a genuinely non-partisan appeal to solicit donations for "humanitarian" assistance in war-torn Gaza?"

World News

Persecuted black Iraqis inspired to seek office in provincial polls

Martin Chulov

"In Iraq's deep south another American-led revolution is stirring."


Writing cheques for Gaza is easy. Politics is the tricky bit.

Chris Patten

"It is time to questin Europe's historic role of financing the failure of policies laid down in Israel and the US."

This absurd BBC decision is part of a wider malaise

Martin Bell

"The BBC refusal to transmit the Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza appeal has left it isolated and exposed."

It's Mark Thompson's call. Politicians should shut it.

Emily Bell

"In deciding not to carry the DEC appeal, the BBC director general has again dragged the corporation into the white hot glare of public and government disapproval."


BBC and Gaza: Error of judgement

"As the Gaza appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee was broadcast on ITV and Channel 4 and Five last night, the refusal of the BBC and Sky to do so remained puzzling."


The BBC, impartiality and the Gaza appeal

Dr Shahrar Ali, Green Party: "The BBC is right to fear that by broadcasting the DEC appeal it would risk undermining public confidence in its impartiality."

Keith Steiner, Peterborough: "The BBC has made the correct decision."

Michael McCarthy, London: "Given Mark Thompson's devotion to the cause of BBC impartiality, perhaps he could reassure us that when he went on his charm offensive to Israel in 2005 and held talks with Ariel Sharon, he took the opportunity to talk also to Palestinian leaders in the occupied territories."

Rev Brian Jenner, South Yorkshire: "Your correspondents all seem to have missed the trick."

John Pearson, Leeds: "Holocaust Memorial Day is about highlighting the plight of persecuted people around the world."


The Independent

National News

Public give 600,000 pounds to Gaza appeal before broadcasts are aired

Jerome Taylor

"The Gaza appeal which the BBC is refusing to broadcast raised 600,000 before it was shown."

World News

Army rabbi 'gave out hate leaflet to troops'

Ben Lynfield

"The Israeli army's chief rabbinate gave soldiers preparing to enter the Gaza Strip a booklet implying that all Palestinians are their mortal enemies and advising them that cruelty is sometimes a "good attribute"."


When charities turn political, the BBC is right to tread warily

Dominic Lawson

"Christian Aid can no longer be considered an honest broker."

The BBC is damned if it does, damned if it does not

Tom Sutcliffe

"I may be regarded as hopelessly parti pris when it comes to the BBC, since I present a weekly arts programme for the broadcaster."


Has the BBC no compassion?

Dr Faysal Mikdadi, Dorset: "Now Sky joins the BBC in refusing to broadcast the Gaza appeal."

Angela Peyton, Suffolk: "I think the BBC is gravely mistaken in their refusal to broadcast the appeal for humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza."

Roger Morgan, Surrey: "It is a splendid irony that the BBC's refusal to broadcast the Gaza appeal has given more publicity to that appeal, and the suffering in Gaza, than the organisers could have dreamt of."

Dr Brian W Beeley, Kent: "We have been told by the Israeli military that their assault on Gaza involved careful, precision targeting of Hamas resistance fighters and officials."


The Times

Home News

Trust to look at BBC's Gaza appeal refusal

Patrick Foster, Rosemary Bennett

"The BBC's internal regulator is to investigate the corporation's decision not to transmit the Disasters Emergency Committee's appeal for the aid effort in Gaza, The Times has learnt."

World News

Freed Guantánamo prisoners taunt America as closure plan falls apart

Tim Reid

"President Obama's plan to close Guantánamo Bay within a year appeared to be unravelling yesterday with the emergence of former inmates on terrorist websites, fierce opposition in the US and a lukewarm response to taking detainees from the European Union."

Mitchell begins Middle East peace effort (Not available online)

James Hider, Sheera Frenkel

"George Mitchell, the new US peace envoy, flies to Israel today to put a stamp on the Obama Administration's determination to tackle the Middle East conflict."

Islamists 'take over' (Not available online)


"Hardline Islamists said they had taken over the south-central town of Baidoa, home to Somalia's parliament, after Ethiopian troops pulled out at the weekend."


Quiet, factual and effective

Andrew Billen

"This was not a time for Geldofian threats, to give or else. Quiet, factual, unhistrionic - last night's Disasters Emergency Committee's appeal was all the more effective for those qualities."

The corporation's position on the Gaza appeal is indefensible

Sunny Hundal

"The BBC is defending - in one of the most shocking examples of moral blindness in recent times - its decision not to broadcast a humanitarian appeal by the Disaster Emergency Committee to save people in Gaza."


Charity appeal abuse

John M. Collins

"Sir, Congratulations to The Times. Your leading article (Jan 26) argues that the BBC was mistaken in refusing to broadcast the appeal for relief for Gaza, and Andrew Roberts (Opinion, Jan 26) demonstrates why the BBC's decision is brave and right."


Shocking truths from behind the veil

Joanna Pitman

"The new Saatchi Gallery's latest show exposes the Middle East with raw and provocative energy."