BRITAIN'S Sky News television channel has joined the BBC in refusing to broadcast a Gaza charity appeal, saying it risked the network's objectivity.
The BBC's refusal to air the appeal has further angered pro-Palestinian campaigners who believe the broadcaster was biased towards Israel in its coverage of the Gaza conflict.
But Sky News, the BBC's only domestic rival as a 24-hour television news channel, said that it too felt it could not risk airing the appeal.
John Ryley, head of Sky News, said: "The conflict in Gaza forms part of one of the most challenging and contentious stories for any news organisation to cover.
"Our commitment as journalists is to cover all sides of that story with uncompromising objectivity."
The appeal is by the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella group of 13 charities including Oxfam and the British Red Cross, which kicks in with coordinated fundraising after disasters such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Adrian Wells, Sky News's head of foreign news, said on the channel: "Passions are raised on this story ... and that is part of the backdrop of why we've made the decision we've made."
"We have to, as an international channel, focus on our primary role and that is to report the story and not become the story.
"There is no question about Sky's commitment to reporting the region."
ITV, Channel 4 and Five, Britain's three other terrestrial television broadcasters beside the BBC, have all aired the appeal.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the leader of the world's Anglicans, has joined government ministers, more than 11,000 viewers and more than 50 lawmakers in calling for the BBC to broadcast the appeal.