Tonight, the pressure is mounting on the BBC to broadcast a humanitarian aid appeal for Gaza.
It has banned the Disasters Emergency Committee advert because it says it does not want to look like it is taking sides. But now the British government, and the two main opposition parties (the Consveratives and the Liberal Democrats) have demanded the BBC show it.
Douglas Alexander, the International Development Minister said:
“I really struggle to see in the face of the immense human suffering of people in Gaza… that this is in any way a credible argument.
They [the BBC] still have time to make a different judgement to recognise the immense human suffering.”
The Conservatives said it should be shown, to let people make up their own minds. And the Liberal Democrats called the BBC’s decision “disgraceful”.
And rival broadcasters say they will now also put it on air. ITV, Channel 4 and Five will show it on Monday. Sky is considering the request.
The BBC has shown every DEC appeal in the past. And it has shown them in highly political humanitarian disasters, like Yugoslavia.
But by banning it, the BBC is doing something more than hurting the appeal for cash. It is politicising the neutral work of the DEC – which includes organisations like the Red Cross, Oxfam and Save the Children.