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BBC Not Using Words Terrorism And Terrorists In Reports About Kenyan Jihadi Massacre Due To 'Guidelines'

October 4, 2013

Why can't the BBC use the word terrorist? Guidelines force reporters to describe Kenyan mall attackers as 'militants'

BBC journalists have avoided using 'terrorist' and 'terrorism' in reports

Critics say BBC is 'out of touch' and guilty of 'covering' for the jihadists

Corporation's guidelines suggest avoiding the use of the word 'terrorism'

Say it's a 'difficult and emotive subject with significant political overtones'

By Jack Doyle and Damien Gayle

BBC was criticised yesterday for not describing the armed jihadists behind the Kenya shopping centre siege as terrorists.

The corporation's journalists have avoided using the words ‘terrorist' and ‘terrorism' in reports.

Instead, they described the terrorists as ‘Islamist militants' or ‘suspected Al Shabaab militants' - and only used the word terrorist in when quoting someone else.

Critics said the BBC was guilty of ‘covering' for the jihadists. One senior backbench MP said the BBC was ‘out of touch' on the issue.

Douglas Murray, associate director of the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, said: ‘By not calling these jihadists what they actually are, the BBC is effectively covering for them.

No-one wants to say they are jihadis, which they are. No-one wants to say they are Islamic extremists, which they are.

‘Most people know what these people are and it's only certain sections of government and the media which refuses to point the finger.'

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