MCB Urges BBC Governors to Reverse its Sabotage of the DEC’s Humanitarian Appeal for Gaza

24 Jan 2009

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) views the BBC decision to disallow an appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) for Gaza a serious dereliction of its public duty. We urge the Corporation’s Governors to urgently reverse its decision which would severely jeopardize efforts to raise millions of pounds of voluntary contributions for emergency humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

MCB Secretary General Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari said, `The excuses given by the BBC are simply untenable and the Governors need to act quickly before the Corporation’s image is irretrievably tarnished.’

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group for 13 aid charities, launched its appeal yesterday saying the devastation in Gaza was “so huge British aid agencies were compelled to act”.

For the first time in 43 years a Disaster Emergency Committee [DEC] appeal has been launched without the support of Britain’s major broadcasters. The appeal was effectively sabotaged by the BBC when it made a rare breach of an agreement dating to 1963, saying it would not give free airtime to the appeal.

Dr Abdul Bari added, `The need to reverse this decision is even more compelling as the BBC’s coverage of the carnage in Gaza was very tame and not reflective of the scale of the violations committed there.’

In sabotaging the DEC appeal broadcast the BBC is clearly acting against the public interest. As custodians of the public trust in the BBC its Governors must act immediately to avoid the blame of being complicit in denying humanitarian aid to the desperate people of Gaza.