Public urged to return BBC licences



THE Stop the War coalition urged the public to return their BBC TV licences on Monday in protest at the corporation’s refusal to broadcast an emergency appeal for Gaza.

The call came as the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sky News announced that it was joining the BBC in refusing to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal.

The broadcaster said in a statement that it had informed the DEC, an umbrella organisation for 13 humanitarian aid agencies, of its decision.

The decision comes after BBC director-general Mark Thompson defended the corporation’s decision not to broadcast the appeal in spite of more than 10,000 complaints.

He claimed that the BBC was “passionate” about defending its impartiality.

However, Stop the War Coalition spokesman Andrew Burgin pointed out that the fact that other channels including Channel 4, ITV and Channel 5 were showing the appeal showed how isolated and extreme the BBC was on this issue.

“Sky’s decision is just as disgraceful as the BBC’s,” he said.

“Sky has a history of anti-union activity and its broadcasting headquarters will also be subject to protests later in the week.”

He added: “We are also asking local Stop the War groups outside London, which have a BBC office in their area, to organise similar licence return events, notifying the local media beforehand.”

Muslim youth organisation Ramadhan Foundation chief executive Mohammed Shafiq urged the BBC and Sky to reconsider their decision.

“I am disgusted at the BBC’s decision not to show the DEC charity appeal for Gaza. There can be no justification for this deeply concerning position and we urge the BBC to reconsider,” he said.

The BBC is also facing a growing revolt from its own journalists over its decision not to broadcast the aid appeal.

BBC staff have said that they have been told they face the sack if they speak out on the issue and corporation journalists will vote on Tuesday on a resolution put forward by the National Union of Journalists condemning the move.

The NUJ and fellow broadcasting union BECTU both passed motions over the weekend condemning the BBC’s decision.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear and his counterpart at BECTU Gerry Morrissey also sent a letter to BBC director-general Mark Thompson on Monday asking him to review it.

  • R. Hunt

    what is curious about this is that if enough people do it, then the BBC (and the Government) are stuck.

    since Israel has just announced that it is renewing its attacks today (Tuesday), this could all turn into a well-deserved disaster for the BBC.

  • Paul

    I can't believe how stupid the BBC is being. The BBC as a whole can do nothing but lose on this issue. Their refusal is benefiting the appeal with more media exposure than airing it would have provided. They're losing the in the UK public opinion arena. The story has gone international and tarnishing their reputation as impartial with their international audience. (Personally, I now associate BBC more with the likes of Fox News.) They're on the same side of the issue as Rupert Murdoch for god's sake. Doesn't that tell them something?

  • greg

    You cant disconnect just the Murdochs Fox and BBC from your cable TV. But you can block those channals on your box and the cable companies will know that you are. The new box relays all info back to the company. And yes the BBC and FOX are owned by Murdoch… So this protest will work if a lot of people block those channals..

  • Tom Sullivan

    Perhaps it will bring about the demise of this lair of taxpayer-funded, license-fee funded fatcats? If it does, then it will have achieved far more than was originally intended.

    By the way, Greg, the BBC is not owned by Murdoch, but it might as well be, for all it is worth.

  • Joan Davenport

    BBC: Bull Bias Crap

  • Elizabeth Palmer

    I would like to know how to block the BBC channels from my box. I will miss it but am prepared to make the sacrifice. Could you please give some technical advice on how to do the blocking.


  • David

    ….So how do you block the B.B.C channels ?