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BBC edits out stars’ calls for Gaza ceasefire at Scottish Baftas



Winners and presenters used their appearances on stage to voice solidarity with Palestinians during the event in Glasgow on Sunday evening and noticed edits on the BBC iPlayer’s coverage.

One award presentation and speech by winners referencing calls for a ceasefire has been completely removed from the ceremony coverage, while no other award was cut.

Campaigners from Art Workers for Palestine Scotland handed envelopes containing letters which doubled as a poster to celebrities and politicians attending the awards.

READ MORE: Scottish Parliament calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Director Eilidh Munro, who won the award for best Short Film and Animation, told guests to “put pressure on institutions and our government” and to “use your voice as filmmakers and artists” while her colleague Finlay Pretsell held up one of the posters which said: “I refuse to be silent. Ceasefire now.”

The speech was seen by viewers on the livestream produced by Bafta Scotland on Sunday and shared widely online but the entire award-giving has been removed from the BBC iPlayer’s edit.

Both the BBC edit and livestream featured the first two awards of the night, Single Documentary and Specialist Factual, before presenter Edith Bowman reached the category for Short Film and Animation.

On the original stream, the previous nominees are seen leaving the stage and Bowman states: “The ability to express an idea with precision, speed and economy is a rare gift so it’s time to honour this year’s finest work in short film and animation.

“To reveal the winner, an actress who embodies the tenacious title character of detective series Karen Pirie and an actor known for a discovery of witches. They are both celebrated the world over for the fantastic work on the phenomenon that is Outlander. Please raise the roof for Lauren Lyle and Steven Cree.”

Lyle and Cree take to the stage, read the nominees and present the award to Munro and the other creators of A Long Winter.

On the BBC edit, the previous nominees are seen leaving the stage and Bowman states: “We’ve reached the award for factual series which often takes us into the world of crime.”

The award for factual series is then shown, and there is no mention of the Short Film and Animation category.

READ MORE: Scottish Baftas 2023: See the full list of winners

Munro told The National: “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.

“October was the deadliest month for Palestinian journalists and filmmakers in the last 30 years and the scale of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region is horrific.

“Awards ceremonies have always been a platform to express solidarity and humanity, and we wanted to use this opportunity as filmmakers to call for peace. For the BBC to cut this, as well as actor Amir El-Masry’s appeal to a ceasefire, is simply shocking.

“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.

“In my opinion, the BBC’s editorial decision to omit these peaceful signs of solidarity is neither neutral nor impartial.

“As an emerging director creating and celebrating independent documentaries, it’s also disappointing to have this platform taken away from a sector that is already largely underrepresented in mainstream media.”

A later reference to Munro’s speech by actor Amir El-Masry has also been removed.

Masry, who presented the award for best actress in a film, said: “Before I start, I just want to echo the sentiments earlier in saying my heart goes out all women, men and children who are suffering right now in Gaza. Let’s hope and pray that we see peace in the region and an imminent ceasefire.”

He had been pictured on the red carpet with ‘#ceasefirenow’ written on his hand.

The BBC edit showed every other award: Entertainment, Features, Audience Award, Writer for Film/Television, Television Scripted, Actress Film, Actor Film, Outstanding Contribution to Craft, Director Factual, Director Fiction, Actor Television, Actress Television, Feature Film, Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television.

The BBC has been approached for comment.

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