BBC advisory panel member resigns in protest over Gaza appeal

Niaz Alam says the BBC made the wrong decision in refusing to broadcast DEC fundraiser

A member of the BBC's advisory panel on charity appeals has resigned in protest at the broadcaster's decision to not show the Disasters Emergency Committee's Gaza Crisis appeal.

Niaz Alam, who was appointed to the BBC's Charity Appeals Advisory Committee in 2004, said in his resignation letter he "strongly believed the BBC had made the wrong decision" in refusing to broadcast the appeal for fear it would compromise its neutral stance.

The letter also said that the BBC had done greater harm to its reputation by ignoring the DEC's view that the situation in Gaza was critical and warranted an emergency appeal.

"I strongly wish to register my view that by justifying the decision to block the Gaza appeal on the ground of impartiality, the BBC's director-general has done greater reputational harm by implying that the DEC has not been objective in this case," the letter said.

The letter also criticised "the logic of a policy of avoiding appeals that arise out of politically controversial conflicts", saying that this would lead to the BBC ignoring all major humanitarian crises.

Alam, a former vice-chair of aid organisation War on Want, told Third Sector he knew of at least one other committee member who considered resigning over the BBC's decision.

"I know that a few members advised the BBC on the nature of the crisis, but not on whether the appeal should be broadcast. I personally was not party to this process," he said.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We are aware of Niaz Alam's resignation and thank him for his contribution to the work of the charity appeals advisory committee."

The Gaza appeal has raised more than £4m, the DEC confirmed.

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