BBC advisers are silent on Gaza appeal

Broadcaster's Charity Appeals Advisory Committee will not say what advice it gave

The BBC's Charity Appeals Advisory Committee has declined to reveal what advice it gave to the BBC about the Disasters Emergency Committee's Gaza appeal broadcast.

The BBC has come under criticism from the Government, the public and third sector organisations after it decided not to broadcast the humanitarian appeal last week in case doing so raised doubts about its impartiality.

Advisory committee members contacted by Third Sector refused to comment on the discussions that took place before the BBC made its decision.

Stephen Dunmore, chair of the advisory committee, said the BBC had consulted him and a number of other members, excluding those with any involvement with the DEC and its member agencies.

"Advice was given in relation to the nature of the humanitarian crisis only," he said in a statement. "The committee does not advise on impartiality, nor does it participate in the BBC's decision-making process."

The BBC website says that the committee advises the broadcaster in areas such as policy matters related to charity appeals associated with the BBC, the overview and scrutiny of specific fundraising projects such as Children in Need and the allocation of broadcasting time through BBC channels to regular appeals for individual charities.

Members of the committee include Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, Daleep Mukarji, director of Christian Aid, who is also a member of the DEC board, and Gerald Oppenheim, director of policy and partnerships at the Big Lottery Fund.

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