Declan Wilkes
The London Daily News
January 7, 2008

The London Daily News has learned there is an informal news blackout at BBC Radio over the mounting public outrage following the Gaza incursion by Israeli troops.

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According to sources, radio station phone in’s have been screening out any callers wanting to talk about the Israeli air strikes and ground offensives in the Middle East.

The BBC’s Have Your Say comment sites are being heavily moderated – its main board ‘How can a truce be achieved in Gaza?’ has had half of its 4,500 comments rejected on the basis of defamation, incitement to crime and hate, harassment, abuse, threats, harmful, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, homophobic or racially offensive language.

On the board ‘Are the Israeli strikes on Gaza justified?’ Half of the 5,000 comments have also been removed for breaking the House Rules stated above.

Radio ban

Producers and presenters have been told to ‘stay away’ from the subject despite thousands taking to the streets the past few weeks in protest and support of the military action that has seen 600 killed and just recently 40 dead from an air strike at a school.

The self imposed ban has also been reflected in commercial radio with stations like Talksport rarely wanting to broach the subject and many others clearly steering away from on-air debates on the topic. LBC has attempted to tackle the subject with on air debates.

Why?

Radio bosses are keen not to enflame the situation and leave themselves open to accusations of bias toward one side or another – the Beeb, still reeling from the Jonathan Ross affair is in no mood for any controversy.

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