Britain's Sky News on Monday joined the BBC in refusing to broadcast a Gaza charity appeal despite pressure from ministers and demonstrators, saying it risked the television channel's objectivity.
The BBC's refusal to air the appeal has further angered pro-Palestinian campaigners who believe the broadcaster was biased towards Israel in its coverage of the Gaza conflict.
But Sky News, the BBC's only domestic rival as a 24-hour television news channel, said Monday that it too felt it could not risk airing the appeal.
"The conflict in Gaza forms part of one of the most challenging and contentious stories for any news organisation to cover," John Ryley, head of Sky News, said in a statement.
"Our commitment as journalists is to cover all sides of that story with uncompromising objectivity.
"The absolute impartiality of our output is fundamental to Sky News and its journalism.
"That is why, after very careful consideration, we have concluded that broadcasting an appeal for Gaza at this time is incompatible with our role in providing balanced and objective reporting of this continuing situation to our audiences in the UK and around the world."
The appeal is by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group of 13 charities including Oxfam and the British Red Cross, which kicks in with coordinated fundraising after disasters such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
ITV, Channel 4 and Five, Britain's three other terrestrial television broadcasters beside the BBC, have all aired the appeal.
Top Church of England archbishops, government ministers, opposition spokesmen, more than 11,000 viewers and more than 50 lawmakers have called for the BBC to reconsider its decision.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sky, BBC Refuse to Air Gaza Propaganda Appeal
Frankly, I'm stunned the BCC is now claiming to be objective. Sky I can understand. But kudos to both of them for refusing to knuckle under to pressure to air the terror propaganda.