Glasgow, Scotland – The BBC has been accused of editing out multiple calls for a ceasefire in Gaza in its coverage of an entertainment awards ceremony in Scotland.
The Scottish arm of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) held its ceremony on Sunday in Glasgow.
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At the event, some public figures used their moment on stage to express solidarity with Palestinians from the besieged enclave.
But they later found their words of support cut from the final edit of the show, which appeared on the British public service broadcaster’s streaming service, iPlayer.
Among those to accuse the BBC of censorship was director Eilidh Munro, who prevailed in BAFTA Scotland’s best Short Film and Animation category.
She used her acceptance speech to call on guests to “use your voice as filmmakers and artists” to lobby for a halt to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, as her colleague Finlay Pretsell displayed a poster that read, “I refuse to be silent. Ceasefire now.”
While Munro’s entire award-winning segment, which included her acceptance speech, was seen by viewers watching the livestream version produced by BAFTA Scotland, it was not included in the final BBC iPlayer edit.
Munro told Scotland’s The National newspaper: “It is deeply concerning that the BBC decided to cut the entire segment of our award acceptance speech from their coverage of the BAFTA Scotland Awards.
“It is also somewhat surreal that an event which celebrates artists and filmmakers for using their voices and creating work to speak out against injustice can also be censored.”
She added to The National: “In my opinion, the BBC’s editorial decision to omit these peaceful signs of solidarity is neither neutral nor impartial.”
Apparently this was cut from the BBC coverage of the awards. Doubt they'd have done that if he was talking about Ukraine! https://t.co/idXBGWJepa
— Hanna Ines Flint – Free 🇵🇸 (@HannaFlint) November 21, 2023
Pretsell’s poster is understood to have come from the campaigners who had gathered outside the ceremony’s venue at a Glasgow hotel.
Art Workers for Palestine Scotland handed out pro-Palestinian paraphernalia to attendees, including Scotland’s Muslim First Minister Humza Yousaf.
Yousaf was seen at the event with his Scottish-Palestinian wife Nadia El-Nakla, whose parents escaped Gaza after becoming trapped in the Palestinian territory for weeks after the start of the bloody conflict.
Social media users outraged by the BBC edits have been sharing a video clip by the popular American TikTok user YourFavoriteGuy, who alleged the British broadcaster does not care “about [the Gazan] genocide or the Palestinians”.
More than 14,500 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli air strikes in a matter of weeks. Israel’s bombardment began in retaliation for the Hamas attack on southern Israel nearly 50 days ago, during which about 1,200 Israelis were killed and more than 200 were taken hostage.
A truce is hoped to take hold early on Friday.
A BBC spokesperson told Al Jazeera that “the programme on iPlayer is a highlights show and therefore significantly shorter than the actual event itself”.
The spokesperson added: “Some edits were made so the content was compliant with BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality.”
According to those rules, which are published on the BBC’s website, the broadcaster “must be inclusive, considering the broad perspective and ensuring that the existence of a range of views is appropriately reflected. It does not require absolute neutrality on every issue or detachment from fundamental democratic principles, such as the right to vote, freedom of expression and the rule of law”.