A group of protesters set fire to their television licenses in a sit-in at the BBC broadcasting centre in London yesterday evening, as complaints continued about the Corporation’s refusal to show a Gaza charity appeal.
Students occupied the reception area of the White City building, chanting “shame on you” and other slogans. One of them, Chris Nineham, said” “We want the BBC to reverse its decision.”
Hundreds of people have also posted their licenses to the BBC to demand a refund. It is a legal requirement for people in the UK who own a television to have a license, the public proceeds of which fund the BBC.
Meanwhile the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD), which is a recognised agency of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has expressed its disappointment that the BBC and Sky are not showing the DEC’s charitable appeal for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The aid organisation said in a statement: “It is of great regret that we will unfortunately not be getting our humanitarian message out to potential supporters through this avenue.
“CAFOD understands the benefits a national televised appeal can bring to a cause. Last October, CAFOD launched its own appeal for the Democratic Republic of Congo and through its generous supporters raised £2.3 million pounds. By contrast, the DEC – which launched its national televised appeal three weeks later – raised £9.7 million pounds.
“CAFOD’s mission is to relieve suffering and save lives during emergencies as well as raise awareness about the root causes of suffering and injustices and promote action to tackle those causes. CAFOD works to a universal set of humanitarian principles and code of conduct, which stipulates impartiality and independence in the delivery of all aid.
“In the case of Gaza, CAFOD works through its long term partner, Islamic Relief and Caritas Jerusalem which have the trust of the local community and are able to work as effectively as possible in these difficult circumstances.”
CAFOD has issued joint statements with Islamic Relief and has along with other agencies, been concerned about the lack of humanitarian access into the Gaza strip during the crisis. CAFOD has also added its voice to the many calling for an end to the violence from both sides.
Director Chris Bain said: “As DEC Trustees, we were convinced of the urgent need to reduce the suffering of thousands of people by providing, food, water and basic healthcare; and that DEC agencies are able to get into Gaza and help.
He added: “We welcome the move by Channels, 4, 5 and ITV to broadcast the appeal and wish it every success.”