Monday, 26 January 2009


The BBC and Sky News have kicked up a bit of a fuss over deciding not to show an appeal for humanitarian aid in Gaza. Quite right too. But it's certainly an interesting topic - here are a few comments from some of my friends on Facebook (who will remain anonymous)!

"So we should let innocent people suffer for the sake of being impartial? We should give emergency aid to people who need it, whether they're in Gaza, Israel or anywhere else. It's not saying Gaza were in the right, it's just saying we should help people who are suffering because of the atrocity of war."

"The war in Gaza is disproportionate, and so are its consequences. Do we really want to be the people saying: 'screw those suffering Palestinian children; this is about principle?' Some things are more important than 'editorial impartiality.' I don't agree they'd be being partisan by broadcasting it - they have an opportunity to help save lives! Today's newspaper is tomorrow's fish and chip wrapper - here's a chance for them to do something important."

There was a superb leader in The Independent today which said how if the BBC decided to show this appeal, they could end up showing many more appeals for other charities. It added: "As one of the world's most respected newsgathering and broadcasting organisations, [the BBC] does not need the responsibility of arbitrating which deserving causes should win its endorsement."

So what do I make of all this then? Impartiality is very important - the BBC say it's "at the heart" of who they are. It's not a case of refusing to give aid to people - as the BBC and Sky both aren't condeming it; it's just not appropriate to their output. Yes, we should give aid to those in need, but I feel it's not right that impartial broadcasters should advertise this. My own trade union, the National Union of Journalist, are against the decision, but I don't want our TV news to end up like the biased al Jazeera or Fox News. It's more important to save kids than worry about editorial values, but that is not the purpose of Sky News or the BBC. They're not there to save lives - they're there to provide a public service of impartial news. Long live impartial journalism!


Anyway - onto less serious topics... Amy Winehouse has announced she's a Southend United fan. Well I never. Apparently Osama bin Laden has been to see Arsenal in the past, but I'm not sure he would be so welcome if he popped over for the next game at the Emirates. But as for Amy; we'd tried to get her down at Roots Hall, but she said 'no, no, no'!