Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

IAEA head boycotts BBC over Gaza

Mohammed ElBaradei (file image from January 2005)
The BBC said it hoped Mr ElBaradei would accept future interview requests

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has cancelled interviews with the BBC over its decision not to broadcast a charity appeal for Gaza.

Mohamed ElBaradei believed that the BBC's decision broke "the rules of basic human decency", his spokeswoman said.

BBC director general Mark Thompson had said airing the appeal would compromise the BBC's impartiality.

In a statement, the BBC said that it regretted Mr ElBaradei's move.

The IAEA chief had been due to take part in interviews with the BBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

But Mr ElBaradei cancelled them over the corporation's decision not to broadcast a three-minute appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) - an umbrella group for major UK charities - for humanitarian aid funding for Gaza.

"He believes this decision violates the rules of basic human decency which are there to help vulnerable people irrespective of who is right or wrong," his spokeswoman said.

The BBC said it hoped Mr ElBaradei would accept an interview invitation at another time.

Britain's three other terrestrial broadcasters, ITV, Channel 4 and Five, showed the appeal on Monday.

But Sky News also chose not to air it, saying it would be "incompatible" with its objective role.

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