Lest it ‘offends’ the terrorists…Don’t call a terrorist a terrorist. A fascinating lesson in BBC political correctness and news reporting.

Posted: 26 January, 2015 in BBC, Political Correctness
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Read more Political Correctness News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

bbc news logo The Islamists who committed the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris should be not be described as terrorists by the BBC, a senior executive at the corporation has said.Tarik Kafala, the head of BBC Arabic, said the term terrorist was too loaded to describe the actions of the men who killed 12 people in the attack on the French satirical magazine. Kafala told The Independent :

We try to avoid describing anyone as a terrorist or an act as being terrorist. What we try to do is to say that ‘two men killed 12 people in an attack on the office of a satirical magazine’. That’s enough, we know what that means and what it is.

Terrorism is such a loaded word. The UN has been struggling for more than a decade to define the word and they can’t. It is very difficult to. We know what political violence is, we know what murder, bombings and shootings are and we describe them. That’s much more revealing, we believe, than using a word like terrorist which people will see as value-laden.

Kafala’s are in line with the BBC’s editorial guidelines on reporting terrorism. The guidelines state:

[The BBC] does not ban the use of the word. However, we do ask that careful thought is given to its use by a BBC voice. There are ways of conveying the full horror and human consequences of acts of terror without using the word ‘terrorist’ to describe the perpetrators.

The value judgements frequently implicit in the use of the words ‘terrorist’ or ‘terrorist group’ can create inconsistency in their use or, to audiences, raise doubts about our impartiality. It may be better to talk about an apparent act of terror or terrorism than label individuals or a group.

When reporting an attack, the BBC guidelines say it should use words which specifically describe the perpetrator such as bomber , attacker , gunman , kidnapper or militant .

[But such obvious avoidance of attributing terrorists to causes does little except emphasise that the BBC is providing a propaganda slant on the news. It just comes across as politically correct double speak].

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