Gaza Ad Stirs Controversy Across the Pond
Posted on Jan 26, 2009
Two of Britain’s biggest networks, Sky and the BBC, have refused to air a two-minute fundraising appeal on behalf of Gaza. The decision not to broadcast the spot, produced by a committee made up of Britain’s biggest aid agencies, has triggered public outcry, condemnation from politicians and a formal investigation by the BBC Trust.
The BBC’s director general and the head of Sky News both said the ad would threaten their networks’ objectivity.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is a major owner of Sky. The BBC is the largest broadcaster in the world and is funded primarily by the British public.
John Ryley, head of Sky News, said that broadcasting the film would be “incompatible” with its objective role.
“Our commitment as journalists is to cover all sides of that story with uncompromising objectivity,” he added.
This echoed BBC director general Mark Thompson’s concern that the corporation should not give the impression it was “backing one side” over the other.