This is in protest at the BBC's lack of coverage of the anti-war movement in Britain and its role as a mouthpiece of the UK Government at a time when the right to protest and our civil and human rights are being attacked and we are embarked on a dangerous, brutal and illegal war. Similar protests are being held across the country.
It is not a protest against the local BBC at all but is addressed to Broadcasting House.
We will deliver the following letter:
Mark Thompson, Director General, BBC
Dear Mr Thompson,
For the entire duration of the Iraq war the BBC national news coverage of the real war and the opposition to it in the UK and around the world has been pathetic. They have largely become a mouthpiece for the Government and a means for it to get its views across and attempt to make this brutal and illegal war seem acceptable to the British public.
Broadcasting House has appeared to ignore the reality that a sizable proportion of the population of the UK is deeply disturbed by what is happening in the Middle East and at our Government’s role as cheerleader for the US’s bellicose foreign policy. More people have marched in London over the past 3 years than ever before in this country and yet the BBC has repeatedly failed to cover any of the marches in any substantial way. It is ironic that Sky News and ITN with their commercial interests have often covered these events in much more detail.
At the demonstration on March 18th this year organised by ‘Stop the War’ the BBC almost completely ignored the event. The attendance figures were quoted to be around 15,000. Anyone who took part in this march knows that this was blatantly a huge underestimation. These protests took place around the world but again this was ignored.
Local BBC TV and radio coverage of local anti-war and peace events has generally been good and we have very few complaints with their reporting of the Save Omar and anti-EDO campaigns. This protest is not directed at the BBC locally at all but we wish to pass on local anger at the BBC nationally for its favourable bias towards the establishment and the status quo.
To protest in this country requires an almost super-human commitment. Being a demonstrator today in Blair’s Britain increasingly risks criminalisation and requires a hope and idealism that needs to stand up against a media that turns a blind eye to peaceful demonstration in this country. The BBC is fully complicit in destroying the democratic process in this country so that the majority of people in this country now believe that absolutely nothing can be changed by democratic means. For this it should be ashamed of itself.
By not publicising what are, by any measure, substantial outpourings of discontent and anger, the BBC has consistently attempted to reinforce the view that demonstration achieves absolutely nothing – unless of course it happens to be in another country.
(Signed by members of Brighton peace groups including Sussex Action for Peace, Save Omar, Smash EDO, etc)