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In January 2009, the BBC refused to broadcast an appeal by the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) for humanitarian relief for refugees in the Gaza region on the grounds that it would compromise BBC impartiality. This study highlights three issues raised by the decision: the blurring of the lines between news and non-news; the journalistic norm of impartiality and its utility and consequences; and the need for greater theorizing on the responsibilities that media institutions have to “faraway others.” This study uses this decision by the BBC to spur a broader epistemological critique that will seek to map out a vision for a globally-conscious and responsible media practice, spur future theorizing on matters of media ethics, globalization, humanitarianism, and the intersections within, and to call for media practice that is responsive to, and compassionate towards, the needs of people across the world, not just those within the borders within which they operate.
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Keywords: BBC; Gaza; aid appeals; communitarianism; globalization; impartiality

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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