A nationwide appeal for money to help the Gaza relief effort has been denied free television airtime because the BBC fears that it would damage confidence in the corporation’s impartiality.
A 46-year-old agreement with overseas aid charities guarantees them a two-minute prime-time slot to broadcast appeals. But the BBC decided not to go ahead with this one.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) announced its national appeal for Gaza yesterday, saying that the devastation after Israel’s three-week offensive was so great that the leading aid charities felt “compelled to act”. The committee, which is made up of the 12 biggest aid charities, including the British Red Cross and Save the Children, co-ordinates fundraising during international emergencies to maximise the impact of their efforts.
The broadcast would have have highlighted the plight of thousands of victims, including many children, who are homeless and without food, power and water. A national appeal from the DEC would normally raise about £10 million, but without the broadcasts the total is certain to be lower.