Tuesday, January 27, 2009

British protesters briefly occupy BBC

Mon, 26 Jan 2009 07:06:23 GMT      |      PressTV
BBC under fire for refusal to show Gaza charity appeal - London protests on Saturday
An anti-war group has occupied the Glasgow offices of the BBC in protest at the broadcaster's decision not to air a Gaza fundraising appeal.
 The British Stop the War Coalition said it had about 100 people in the foyer of the BBC's Glasgow offices on Sunday, occupying the place for nearly two hours.
 The occupation follows criticism from lawmakers, celebrities and religious leaders.
 They believe the BBC's decision not to air an advertisement from the Disasters Emergency Committee, a group of charities that includes the Red Cross, Oxfam, and Save the Children, was wrong.
British actress Samantha Morton, who joined several celebrities at a central London fundraiser for the British Aid Agency Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), said she was embarrassed to earn money from a corporation that would take such a "disgusting" decision. 
"I'm so appalled. It's a public service. People have the right to raise money in this way, on the television for people that are in need. It's not a political thing," the 31-year-old Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee said on Sunday.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and another senior church leader have also called on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to air the charity appeal.

Meanwhile a parliamentary petition signed by more than 50 lawmakers -- which is to be introduced in the House of Commons on Monday -- seemed likely to add more pressure on the broadcaster to run the ad.
 The BBC claims it rejected the advertisement because of concerns that showing it might harm its reputation for "impartiality".

The corporation also added that it is unsure the money raised would reach those in need in the impoverished Palestinian enclave.

However, rival channels ITV, Channel 4 and Five have said they will show the DEC charity appeal. Sky said it had yet to decide.

The BBC, which is funded by an obligatory license fee paid by every British household with a television set, has previously given airtime to the Disasters Emergency Committee.

Appeals have raised millions of US dollars for people affected by war and natural disasters in Congo, Myanmar and elsewhere. 

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