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Sky News declines Gaza aid appeal

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Sky News has confirmed that it will not broadcast a Disasters Emergency Committee fundraising appeal for Gaza, citing impartiality concerns.

In a statement, Sky News head John Ryley said: "The absolute impartiality of our output is fundamental to Sky News and its journalism. That is why, after very careful consideration, we have concluded that broadcasting an appeal for Gaza at this time is incompatible with our role in providing balanced and objective reporting of this continuing situation to our audiences in the UK and around the world.

"No-one could fail to be touched by the human suffering on both sides of the conflict, which has been the focus of much of our own reporting in the region. However, the nature of an appeal is that it sets out to provoke a specific response from the viewer. We don't believe that broadcasting such an appeal on Sky News can be combined with the balance and context that impartial journalism aims to bring to the highly-charged and continuing conflict in Gaza.

"Unlike some other UK broadcasters, Sky News is widely viewed across the Middle East. In order to continue to serve all our audiences, we must ensure that our journalists can continue to operate effectively in difficult conditions. This must remain the first priority for any news organisation."

Last week, a firestorm of criticism was unleashed on the BBC after it announced it would not show the appeal over concerns that it could jeapordise its reputation for impartiality. Cabinet ministers, at least 50 MPs and the Archbishop of Canterbury have all criticised the BBC for its stance, and protests have taken place outside BBC offices in London and Glasgow.

ITV, Channel 4 and Five have announced that they will screen the appeal, and it is understood that the first broadcast will take place on ITV1 tonight before the network's main evening news bulletin at 18:30.

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