26 January 2009

Auntie's spectacular own goal

By now I am certain that all of you are familiar with the unconscionable decision by the head of the BBC to refuse to air an appeal for donations to alleviate the suffering those in Gaza who are suffering in what is truly a humanitarian disaster. There are probably in excess of a half a million innocent civilians without water and power and certainly over a hundred thousand, probably more, who are without homes. The argument by BBC honchos is that they cannot seen to be taking sides in a political conflict; an argument that has never occurred to them before when they broadcast appeals for aid to Darfur and elsewhere.

There are at least two unanswered questions that demand a response;

As I write this I am listening to an interview on the BBC's own World Service between Mr. Thompson, head of the Beeb, and John Humphreys, one of Mr. Thompson's employees. Mr. Thompson admitted that there was incredible suffering in Gaza but that the BBC could not allow the appeal because the political situation is unsettled. Unfortunately the usually dogged Mr. Humphreys failed to follow up and demand an answer to the question why these hundreds of thousand of innocents are to be allowed to suffer because of politics.

The second, more dangerous question, that also must be answered is whether there was any contact between official Israeli government sources, official Hamas government sources or unofficial lobbyists on either side and any BBC officials before, during or after the time when this disgraceful decision was made.

I imagine that we will not know the answer to the later question for many years, if ever.

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