As Iâ€™m sure you are all aware, the BBC is facing severe protests outside Broadcasting House amid calls for it to air an appeal to the British public to help those in need in Gaza.
The DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee), an umbrella organization that represents UK charity agencies including Oxfam and the Red Cross, had asked the main broadcasters in the UK to support the campaign to bring aid to those in need in Gaza, where over 1,300 Palestinians had been killed and over 5,000 injured.
Channel 4 and Five agreed to air the broadcast, but ITV, Sky and the BBC initially rejected the DECâ€™s request, the latter arguing that by showing the appeal, â€˜the BBC would risk reducing public confidence in itâ€™s impartial coverage of the conflict.â€™
ITV has since buckled under the fierce criticism received and opted to show the appeal, and Sky has announced that is still considering the DECâ€™s request. However, because of the way the BBC is funded, it is expected to maintain itâ€™s impartiality as a public service broadcaster, and it has therefore stuck to itâ€™s original decision.
BBC Director General Mark Thompson said that â€œinevitably 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.
â€œThe danger for the BBC is that this could be interpreted as taking a political stance on an ongoing story. It is to protect that impartiality that we have made this difficult decision.â€
Over 2,000 people protested against the decision outside the BBCâ€™s London headquarters on Saturday, and 11,000 complaints have been received by the corporation.
The decision has prompted action from all corners of Westminster. Sky News is now reporting that over 50 Members of Parliament are backing a motion urging the BBC to reverse itâ€™s decision and air the appeal. It was revealed earlier in the week that the Government is donating Â£25m to the Gaza appeal.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, which airs on the BBC, LibDem leader Nick Clegg described the decision as an â€œinsultâ€ to public viewing and accused the BBC of getting their priorities â€œupside downâ€.
Whatâ€™s your opinion on the matter? Do you think that the BBC should effectively drop its principles as a public service broadcaster and air the appeal amidst a crisis that is causing immense human suffering, despite the possibility of showing political bias in this sensitive issue? Or do you think that sticking to its guns, maintaining impartiality and leaving the appeal to ITV, Channel 4 and Five is the right course of action for the BBC?
BREAKING NEWS 0838: Sky News has announced that it will not air the Gaza appeal in line with its broadcasting principles. Adrian Wells, Sky's Head of Foreign News, said today that their role was to "report the news", not "become the news".Â
However, Sky make the news for Channel Five, and they are broadcasting the appeal. Is that any different?