A senior BBC official met with four Palestine activists from the ‘We Are all Hana Shalabi coaltion’ following an occupation of around 30 activists of the BBC Scotland headquarters. The occupation took place in the run up to to the second march to the BBC in the past month. The march will demand once again the lack of coverage by the BBC of events in Palestine. The demonstrators entered BBC lobby around midday and demanded a meeting with a senior BBC official. Following a couple of hours of negotiation the a senior official from the BBC agreed to meet four of the protesters.
During the meeting the BBC were challenged by demonstrators on the lack of coverage of Palestine by the BBC and in particular the continued media silence over the mass Palestinian hunger strikes ongoing in Israel jails. The BBC responded to the challenges put forward arguing that BBC Scotland was both autonomous from both the British BBC and from the influence of national states in terms of editorial coverage. The BBC however also stated that they had a certain demographic who they aimed coverage towards. The protesters argued that admitting this bias in coverage went against the supposed aims of the BBC in providing coverage for all sectors of society. One of the protesters said that ‘by admitting that the coverage of the BBC was geared towards a certain demographic the BBC were making no attempts to address the frustrations certain demographics of Scottish, and British, society felt towards BBC coverage.’ Another protester said ‘the BBC is paid for by all licence payers and the suggestion that the BBC aims its coverage to a particular demographic of society is a disgrace’.
The demonstrations this evening has been organised by student Palestine societies in Scotland, with the support of various organisations, uniting under the banner of ‘We Are All Hana Shalabi’.
On Saturday 24th March, over 500 people marched from George Square to the BBC Scotland HQ in Glasgow (link for pictures below) demanding that they cover stories about Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. Today, demonstrations have been called across Scotland in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Many of those marching have been participating in a global hunger strike from 7am to 7pm.
One of the occupiers said, “The Karamah Hunger Strike represents a potentially significant moment in the history of the Palestinian struggle. The fact that 2400 Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike against the apartheid policies of the Israeli occupation shows the desire of Palestinians to have their freedom from prison. Reports are currently emerging that the IDF commandos have attacked Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Nafha desert prison.
The demonstration will assemble in George Square at 6 and march to the Scottish BBC headquarters for 7.
For more information:
Addameer, Palestinian prisoners advocacy group:
Guardian article on the Karamah strike:
Article from We Are All Hana Shalabi about the Karamah strike:
Facebook event for Today’s demo:
Liam O’Hare (Edinburgh University) – 07519575060
Sarah Watson (Glasgow University) – 07964581414
Facebook: We Are All Hana Shalabi
Photos and videos of the demonstration last month are available here: