Friday, January 30, 2009

DEC: was the BBC right all along?

Very good piece by Dan Sabbagh in the Times about why the corporation was right to say no to the Gaza appeal....

Much later....

Meanwhile, my analysis of the Katine project has made it online.......

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The DEC rolls on....

Good piece by Keith Dovkants in the Standard which recounts the recent problems for the BBC and Israel in the past.....

Also AP is now reporting that the IAEA head has refused to do an interview with the BBC in protest at the BBC's refusal to do the Gaza appeal.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More DEC....

Good account of what has been going on for the last week here in the Guardian......

Monday, January 26, 2009

DEC cont'd...

The DEC row rolls on, becoming increasingly bad-tempered in parts. 
There is an interesting line tucked away in Patrick Foster's account in the Times this morning in which it appears correspondence between DEC chief exec Brendan Gormley and the BBC has been leaked. Cui bono?
It says that Gormley wrote to the BBC on the 13 January admitting little of the aid would go to Israel and thus  "this state of affairs would conflict with the BBC's editorial need to be impartial".   
I'm wondering however in what context these words appear because it would seem unlikely to me the DEC would continue to push the BBC for an appeal if they had accepted the BBC would be unlikely to consider one. Particularly in the light of the problems over the 2006 Lebanon appeal that never happened where impartiality was a key issue, mainly because the original idea for the appeal had included Gaza as well.

It's also interesting that Sky has come out late in the day saying it won't run the appeal either.
The appeal itself I think is different to the usual, where different personalities depending on the channel 'front' the appeal. The version I saw on Channel 4 was only footage and no one on screen voicing it.  

It also seems there is no one who hasn't written a piece on this. Interesting stuff from Martin Bell on the crisis of confidence at the BBC -and also Iain Martin in the Telegraph on the truth about covering the Middle East if you are a news organisation.
Re Iain Martin's piece, this is the elephant in the room that Mark Thompson refused to address in his Today interview: the rules are different when it comes to the Middle East. Or as one person said to me 'it seems when it comes to appeals set in politically contentious situations, Africa, there's no problem, Asia be more careful and Middle East - forget it'

(PS It's also worth noting that while there has been a lot of criticism of the BBC publicly from journalists, politicians and humanitarians, a majority of comments on the Times forum appear to support the BBC's stance.)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The BBC and the DEC

Hugely interesting to see the fallout over the BBC's refusal to broadcast a DEC appeal for Gaza

It seems the BBC has form in this area. In 2006, the DEC wanted to set up an appeal for Lebanon; at that time the BBC and other broadcasters turned down the ask, as the Guardian reported at the time (it's worth noting that the other broadcasters said they did agree with the BBC on that occasion compared to this time where Sky for one basically passed the buck by saying the DEC appeal could not be launched if everyone did not agree and as the BBC had taken that decision then it was out of their hands).

It is also worth remembering that the Balen Report of 2004 into the BBC's coverage of the Middle East was said to have been prompted by criticism of anti-Israeli  bias. The BBC is in an unenviable position.

There are three criteria that have to be met for a DEC appeal: if it is large and urgent enough; if help can get in to whichever area is to be the subject of the appeal and if there is enough public awareness.

The BBC has talked about the need for political impartiality and sensitivity; the issue as its critics have pointed out is that many DEC appeal do end up dealing with areas where there are political dimensions; the Darfur appeal, or the Burma appeal. Perhaps the message is that some places are more impartial and sensitive than others.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I've been offline for a long time but one of my new resolutions is to be back (another is to use up small coins)...And curiously since my last posts are concerned with Obama this is what my first one of 2009 is about.
I won't name the poet who wrote this poem as she hates what she calls "the dreaded Sometimes" and no longer allows it to be anthologised although she allows it on personal blogs. But I think it's apt, and given that D has just told me off about getting overexcited about the inauguration, it's time to think that maybe things will not turn out as badly as the pessimists think:

Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best intentions do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.