LONDON – An anti-Israel group, still unhappy with last week’s BBC documentary on
the Gaza flotilla incident, is now urging supporters to take complaints all the
way to the BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards Committee.
The radical fringe
group Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has called on supporters to follow a
whole series of actions to express unhappiness with the Panorama program that
screened last Monday, and put pressure on the BBC for its “shocking
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The UK’s media regulator Ofcom has already said that it is unable
to consider complaints from activists as it is unable to hold the BBC
accountable on questions of accuracy and impartiality.
The critics are
furious that program, titled “Death on the Med,” was not as hostile to Israel as
they thought it should be.
“Many of you will have by now received a reply
from BBC Audience Services, justifying the broadcast about Israel’s deadly
assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla as ‘balanced and impartial.’ “This is not
good enough, and we’re now asking you to take the next steps needed to keep up
the pressure on the BBC and bring it to account for this shockingly biased piece
of reporting,” the group’s campaign material and e-mails state.
wants people to write again to the BBC then contact the BBC
“Tell them [the BBC] you are not satisfied with their
response, and that you now want your complaint to be dealt with formally by the
It then urges supporters to contact the BBC Editorial
Complaints Unit if not satisfied after two more exchanges.
provides template letters, with a plethora of allegations, to use for each
“If after two more exchanges, you have not received a satisfactory
response, write to the Editorial Complaints Unit. Your letter should not
exceed 1,000 words (about four pages).
Provide a one-page summary of your
complaint,” it reads.
The BBC Trust’s Editorial Standards is the last
port of call for PSC supporters to express views on the documentary
“If an investigation by the Editorial Complaints Unit proves to
be unsatisfactory, you can request an appeal to the BBC Trust’s Editorial
Standards Committee,” said the group.
“Some people and groups seem
desperate to punish the BBC for broadcasting a program widely accepted as
balanced and fair,” said Jonathan Sacerdoti, Zionist Federation of the UK’s
director of Public Affairs. “It is certainly strange to hear people accusing the
BBC of pro-Israel bias.
“Once again, they are showing their true colors,
concentrating on attacking Israel rather than engaging in practical initiatives
aimed at fostering cooperation and mutual understanding. For these people,
coverage of Israel should always be viciously critical.
They are as
uninterested in truthful and balanced reporting as they are in a fair and
peaceful settlement to the long-running conflict itself,” Sacerdoti
A demonstration took place outside the BBC’s headquarters in west
London, and also in Bristol and Manchester, on Sunday afternoon.
organized by activist Ken O’Keefe from the Free Gaza movement, who was aboard
the Mavi Marmara – the ship boarded by naval commandos on May 31 on which nine
Turkish activists were killed – who had himself been interviewed for the
program, and the Muslim Defense League.
“The BBC once again aired and
spread propaganda on Israel’s behalf,” said a Facebook page set up by the
“Enough is enough, we all know the truth of the terrorist
attacks committed by Israel on unarmed peace activists! The BBC needs to know
that it cannot continue airing lies as the truth,” the page said.
Sunday morning, 268 people registered on the page to take part in the
The Zionist Federation hand-delivered a letter to BBC
director-general Mark Thompson during the protest on Sunday.
“We are not
alone in wishing to place on the public record our view that [the] Jane Panorama
program on the flotilla incident was for the most part balanced, well researched
and well documented,” the letter said.
Meanwhile, The Independent, known
to be the UK’s most hostile newspaper towards Israel, has apparently refused to
publish an advert, signed by over 200, criticizing coverage of the flotilla
incident by the BBC and the Panorama program.
An activist called Cheryl
“Filasteen” Abdul from Newcastle has set up a protest page on Facebook after her
efforts to get the protest letter published failed.
department there does not seem to appreciate the virtues of a free press because
they kept telling me it was based on opinion, not facts,” Abdul
“This for a newspaper that carries a whole section called
‘Viewspaper.’ It may be a case of commercially-biased advertising not
understanding that an advert does not imply the paper’s support for what is
carried but apparently the legal department have raised objections based on the
attitude of the Advertising Standards Authority [the UK’s advertising
regulator], though it is only a one-off advert which makes it very clear that
the views expressed are those of the authors only,” she added.
urging people to write to the Independent’s editor Simon Kelner.
suggest people email/ write to Simon Kelner, the editor, who wrote not so long
ago of the Independent that ‘Today it is avowedly a ‘Viewspaper’, not merely a
newspaper,’” she urged.
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