BBC correct in not screening Gaza appeal, says watchdog

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Director-General Mark Thompson ‘acted correctly’, says BBC’s internal regulator

AN investigation by the BBC Trust has supported the corporation’s decision not to screen a fundraising appeal for Gaza.

The BBC Trust, the channel’s internal regulator, said Director-GeneralMark Thompson’s decision not to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Gaza crisis appeal last month was correct inpreserving the reputation of the BBC for impartiality”.

Mt Thompson’s decision not to air the TV appeal following Israel’s military bombardment of Gaza sparked widespread anger.

More than 1,000 people, mainly children, died following the 22-day war.

The corporation received 40,000 complaints from the public following the decision while a number of protests took place across the country.

More than 170 MPs also added their names to parliamentary motions criticising the decision.

The BBC was the only terrestrial broadcaster not to air the five minute appeal.

Their decision was later backed by Sky News who also refused to air the appeal.

Chairman of the Trust, Sir Michael Lyons said they believed Mr Thompson “acted correctly” in making his decision.

“We recognise that the Director-General’s decision was a matter of great controversy for many members of the public. However, having carefully examined the Director-General’s reasons, the Trust believes he acted correctly throughout, and we are satisfied that the decision the Director-General took was reasonable given the importance of preserving the reputation of the BBC for impartiality,” he said.

“Under the terms of the BBC Charter the Director-General is editor-in- chief of the BBC. It is not in the Trust’s remit to second-guess his editorial decisions, nor should it be.”

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