A threat to impartiality: Reconstructing and situating the BBC's denial of the 2009 DEC appeal for Gaza
In January 2009, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) denied a request from the Disaster's Emergency Committee (DEC) to broadcast an emergency appeal to relieve human suffering in Gaza in the wake of the Israeli ground offensive 'Cast Lead'. The decision marked the first time in the over 40-year relationship between the two organisations that a request was refused by the BBC, but an appeal went ahead. BBC Executives argued that airing the appeal could pose a threat to public confidence in the BBC's impartiality. This article, both descriptive and exploratory in scope, first reconstructs a chronology of this 'impartiality argument', providing a detailed overview of the key players, the (historical) relationship between them, and the run-up to and aftermath of the BBC's decision. The second part of the article analyses the BBC's denial of the DEC request and explores how the BBC's concerns over impartiality articulate its new 'wagon wheel' approach to impartiality. Finally, the authors study the BBC's decision and the-rekindled-centrality of impartiality within the context of the BBC being increasingly bound by the nature of its brand and the visibility of the Middle East conflict.
|Keywords||BBC, Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), Middle East, controversy, impartiality|
|Note||Includes Submitted Authors' Manuscript|
|Persistent URL||dx.doi.org/10.1177/1750635212440916, hdl.handle.net/1765/37776|
Engelbert, J.M., & McCurdy, P.. (2012). A threat to impartiality: Reconstructing and situating the BBC's denial of the 2009 DEC appeal for Gaza. Media, War & Conflict, 5(2), 101–117. doi:10.1177/1750635212440916