The BBC is facing a growing revolt from its own journalists over its decision not to broadcast the Gaza humanitarian aid appeal, with sources reporting “widespread disgust” within its newsrooms. BBC staff have said they have been told they face the sack if they speak out on the issue and Guardian understands that corporation journalists will today vote on a resolution put forward by the National Union of Journalists condemning the move.
Sources have said there was “fury” at the BBC News morning meeting yesterday about the decision, with news editors saying they had not been consulted on the move to not show the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal, which was scheduled to be broadcast last night on ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five.
The NUJ and fellow broadcasting union Bectu both passed motions over the weekend condemning the BBC’s decision. NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear and his counterpart at Bectu, Gerry Morrissey, also sent a letter yesterday to BBC director general Mark Thompson asking him to review it. The main NUJ chapel at BBC Television Centre will also meet today, with staff expected to condemn the decision. “Feelings are running extremely high and there is widespread disgust at the BBC’s top management,” one BBC News source said. “There is widespread anger and frustration at the BBC’s refusal to allow people to speak out about it.”
An NUJ source added: “It is the BBC’s decision and we respect the independence of that, but we think they have got it wrong and should review it.” BBC management have said they will not change their mind on the issue and were backed by Sky News today when the satellite broadcaster also said it would not air the film.
Meanwhile, Sky News yesterday joined the BBC in refusing to broadcast an emergency appeal for Gaza as the corporation faced renewed pressure from the public and MPs to show the film.
John Ryley, head of Sky News, said screening the appeal, by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), would compromise the network’s impartiality. “The absolute impartiality of our output is fundamental to Sky News and its journalism,” he said.
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