Monday, January 26, 2009

The BBC Gets It Right for Once

The BBC has deserved much criticism over the years. But today it deserves praise.

Britain's Disaster Emergency Committee periodically broadcasts appeals for those in need. Last year, for instance, it raised money for those affected by the cyclone in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma.) On this occasion it wanted to do a telethon for Gaza. While ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 agreed to carry the broadcast the BBC balked. Sky today indicated it would not broadcast the telethon either. The DEC consists of charitable organizations like the British Red Cross, Oxfam and Save The Children.

The BBC has refused to broadcast the telethon for two reasons a) that it would compromise its impartiality and b) there are no assurances the monies raised will get to those people who are in genuine need. Indeed, how do we know Hamas won't spend the money on crucifixes or other weapons it can store amongst civilian populations?

The BBC is predictably drawing a lot of heat from politicians, the media, Muslim organizations and left-wing actors. Let's hope they don't wobble under the pressure. The appeal is scheduled to air in Britain tomorrow evening.

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