BBC Gaza appeal snub: What the columnists make of it

The BBC is back in the firing line following its decision to refuse to broadcast the Gaza appeal.

In the same week that Jonathan Ross returned to the airwaves after a three-month suspension in the wake of “Sachsgate”, newspaper columns are filled once again with Beeb controversy.

Opinion is split, and despite a weekend of protests, complaints and flying shoes, there are some who are in support of the decision.

Janet Daley writes in the Telegraph that she is “inclined to support the BBC’s position”.

She argues that although she defends the stance to protect its impartiality, “the BBC is not a department of state” and “it is taking upon itself what should be a political judgement about the likely effect of the distribution of aid in the region”.

Andrew Roberts in the Times suggests the finger should be pointed at the charities, and not the BBC.

He supports the decisions not to broadcast the appeal but not for the reasons the director-general of the BBC is suggesting

“The reason that his decision is brave and right, however, is that many of the 13 charities that make up the DEC are even more mired in anti-Israeli assumptions than the BBC itself.”

Tim Llewellyn in the Observer expresses his frustration at the betrayal of BBC values, and says: “I can safely say that the modern BBC has become a body of lions led by donkeys.”

Joan Bakewell, who has enjoyed a long career with the BBC, cannot help but express her disappointment at the decision.

Commenting in the Times, Bakewell says: “The BBC has to be seen to be impartial and resist pressure. It walks a fine line. But some of us who have served in its ranks, absorbed and shaped its journalistic code, feel the current decision is a wrong one.”

The Independent on Sunday calls the decision “a weak-minded interpretation of the BBC’s duty of impartiality” in its leader column.

And Marina Hyde in the Guardian can’t help but link the BBC’s latest controversy with the Ross/Brand scandal. “Jonathan Ross is back on screen. An aid appeal is not,” she says.

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