At the doors of the BBC
By way of a bonus post, here’s the speech I made outside the BBC offices and studios on Leeds on Wednesday night at a protest over the BBC’s failure to show the Gaza appeal.
Welcome and thanks to all who’ve made it here today. These last few weeks have seen an exciting rise in protests around Britain. Hundreds of thousands have marched in dozens of cities around Britain, whilst over 15 Universities, plus many shops and supermarkets, banks and broadcasting centres have been occupied in response to this latest outrage. It’s been both heartening to see so much activity, and at the same time, very tiring.
When news first broke that the BBC would not air this appeal, many of cursed the Israeli PR machine and assumed the BBC was guilty only of cowardice. We were wrong. We’re now aware that BBC boss Mark Thompson has strong feelings for Israel, having visited Ariel Sharon in 2005, praising the war criminal for his work.
The BBC is far from unbiased. It perpetually uses inflammatory language to tell us that Hamas is totally wrong and Israel totally right. We know this isn’t a simple situation, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yet again we have seen Israel kill Palestinians in numbers 10 times its own losses, and yet again, the BBC has chosen to play this down.
To see people take on the media is inspiring. So much of what our society knows, or thinks it knows, comes through an ever-decreasing pool of media sources. In an age when almost all are driven by profits, the BBC was supposed to stand for truth. How clearly this trust has shown to be misguided in this fiasco.
Where the media spreads lies, we must challenge it, and we must not be afraid to bang on its doors. The BBC’s actions in the last week should be a reminder to all of us that it is down to us to show our communities the reality of life in Palestine. For this, we must find new ways to share information, such as the amazing number of blogs and websites, both from inside and outside Palestine has made such a huge difference.
It’s not too late for the BBC to show the appeal. If our protests have informed people of the appeal, then we have achieved something, but we still risk missing the fact that the BBC has failed in its duty as a public service broadcaster. If Mark Thompson truly believes in impartiality, he would have acknowledged his own compromising views and had nothing to do with the decision. If he wants to place importance on faith in this institution, he should recognise the damage he has done and he should go!
Lets not ever forget the role of the media and lets keep bringing pressure to bare until the BBC and others report the Palestinian struggle truthfully and responsibly. Zionist racism must be challenged wherever it appears. Freedom for Palestine and victory to the student occupations! Thank you.