Senior NUJ Activists plan BBC protest against journalistic freedom

Leftlist is a private mailing list for NUJ members. Its members are not happy about the recent BBC Panorama programme on the flotilla to Gaza. 

So what do members a Trade Union dedicated to journalistic freedom and independence do when they see piece of journalism they don’t like?

Well, the NUJ’s Vice President Donnacha Delong calls for NUJ members to protest outside the BBC, and for BBC NUJ Chapels (ie branches) to put out ‘a statement’, presumably condemning one of their own members for writing something they disapprove of. 

And another senior NUJ activist wants the NUJ to force the BBC to commission another Panorama that is more politically acceptable to them. 

It’s a real shame – but no a surprise – that senior activists in a journalists’ union are prepared to throw out their founding principles in favour of attacking Israel.

First email – 



Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2010 00:26:54 +0100

Subject: [leftlist] Demonstration called at the BBC

Ken O’Keefe and (one of) the Muslim Defence League(s) have called a demo on Sunday at BBC Television Centre.!/event.php?eid=151713191507367&index=1 

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it, but it would be really good to have NUJ people. A statement from some of the BBC Chapels wouldn’t go amiss, particularly with the prospect of a strike at the BBC. The last thing we need is people attacking the BBC in its entirety as a result of this, and I’ve seen a few examples of that already on Facebook. 



The National Union of Journalists runs a discussion list for people working in new media, join the debates at:  

second email

From: Larry Herman


Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2010 22:27:23 +0100

To: Tim Gopsill

Cc: ‘Vicki Morris’;

Subject: Re: [leftlist] Israeli propaganda machine

On 17 Aug 2010, at 15:25, Tim Gopsill wrote:

…  And the issue is not religion or ideology but western militarism and imperialism, …


Our legitimate reaction to the BBC Panorama pro Zionist programme has thrown up profound questions and has, once again, labeled those of us who fight for self determination of all the world’s peoples, including for those who live in the UK, closed – minded bigots and specifically, in this case, Jew haters. Those who sneer and seek to denigrate our views are wrong, but we don’t fear their slander because it shows our strength. Our responsibility is to determine how we better organise to take on the enemies of humanity and their apologists who live their lives giving the politics of reaction credibility.

There are many explanations why Zionism was organised in the 19th Century and why it was able to establish its state after the Second World War, why this State was violently inserted into Palestine and why Israel has carried on a sixty-year war to defend its interests. Israel is the form that imperialism takes in the Middle East. The Apartheid governments in South Africa were another, and equally unique, form of imperialism. The support of all American big capitalists, their governments and military, since the mid 1950’s (and before) for the Zionist state is because it defends Imperialism and Israel is its imperialist  beachhead in that part of the world. 

American imperialisms has always fought wars to extend its interests, whether in The philippines in 1898, in the First and Second World Wars and now throughout Western Asia and North Africa ( of course, on other continents, too. The biggest military base outside of the United States is in Honduras!). It’s not the very active and well funded lobbyists in the United States that cause the American Government’s defence of the Zionist State; to argue this is playing into the hands of anti-semitism. The nefarious activity of pro Zionist organisations and individuals throughout the world exists because of the historic weakness of imperialism. That’s why they are compelled to do what they do. 

I enthusiastically acknowledge that anti – Zionism occupies our political activity today because of several decades of Palestinian resistance. But, it’s not what we are against that defines people, but it’s what we are in favour of. If there were ever a crises of leadership it is there, in Palestine, for all progressives to see. As activists, we are in harmony with the Palestinian people in their struggle for self – determination. We are transformed into anti imperialist fighters through building this solidarity. We, as NUJ activists, have struggled to be heard in the past and will continue to organise against bigotry.  Perhaps, beginning with a demand, supported by a Union – wide campaign, that the BBC fund a ‘Panorama Two” putting the different view. The Leftlist should convene an immediate meeting, with an agenda, open to all who are opposed to the the content of the Panorama film, to initiate this demand within the Union.