The British media BBC is facing questions in its own country for not referring to the Palestinian organization Hamas as a ‘terrorist’ in its report on the Israel-Hamas war. Israel’s close ally UK media has not mentioned Hamas as a ‘terrorist’ in the BBC, the country’s interior minister, foreign minister and other ministers are angry. Besides criticizing in harsh language, they questioned the policy of BBC.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley and Culture Minister Lucy Fraser have called for the BBC to revise its policy. On the other hand, the leader of the Labor Party, Sir Keir Starmer, said that the BBC should explain why it is not using the word.
BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson wrote on BBC Online yesterday explaining the criticism .He said that the BBC cannot call anyone a terrorist for policy reasons.However, the country’s interior minister, Gant Shaps, said the policy was shameful.
A BBC spokesperson said, BBC journalists themselves never use such words unless someone tells them, this is their long-standing practice .
John Simpson said, calling someone a terrorist means you’re taking sides.However, Home Minister Shaps said that it is important to fix the moral position of the BBC.”I think the idea that there are two equal sides here is shameful,” Shapps told Radio LBC.
But a BBC spokesman said: “We always take our language use very seriously.” Anyone who listens or watches our reports will hear the word terrorist many times. The report also clearly states who said the words. For example, the UK government.It’s an approach that’s been used for decades and is followed by other media outlets as well.
The BBC is an independent broadcaster. Its job is to accurately portray what is happening so that our audience can make informed decisions about the events.
The BBC’s world affairs editor, John Simpson, said in his piece, “Government ministers, columnists, ordinary people – everyone is asking why the BBC does not call the Hamas gunmen who have carried out terrible atrocities in the south of Israel terrorists.”
He said the answer lies in the founding principles of the BBC.Terrorism is a forced term that people say about an organization they morally disapprove of.It is not the BBC’s job to tell who to support and who to condemn – who are good people and who are bad people, he wrote.
We regularly point out in our reporting that the British and other governments have condemned Hamas as a terrorist organisation, and that this is their work. We also run interviews with guests where they describe Hamas as terrorists.The point is that we don’t say it ourselves. Our job is to inform our audience of facts so that they can form their own opinion.
Many of those who have attacked us for not using the word terrorist have seen our pictures, heard our audio or read our reports and made up their minds based on our reports. So it cannot be said that we are somehow hiding the truth or that we are far from the truth.The killing of civilians, especially children, peace-loving citizens is not acceptable to anyone.’
This senior journalist of the BBC, who has experience in the Middle East for five decades, said, I have been reporting on the events of the Middle East for 50 years. I have seen the consequences of such attacks in Israel, and I have seen firsthand the consequences of Israeli bombing and missile attacks on civilian targets in Lebanon and Gaza. You can never erase such horrible things from your mind.
But that doesn’t mean we should start calling supporters of the organizations that carry them out as terrorist organizations. Because that would mean abdicating the responsibility of being objective.The BBC has always been like that. During World War II, BBC reporters were clearly told not to call the Nazis evil or evil.
After all, a BBC document says there is no room for rhetoric. We must be calm and slow.Even though it was difficult when the Irish Republican Army was bombing Britain and killing innocent civilians, this policy was adhered to by BBC staff. The BBC was under pressure from Margaret Thatcher’s government and a journalist like me was under great pressure especially after the Brighton bombing where he narrowly escaped death and many innocent people were killed.
But still we stuck to that policy and still do today.We take no sides. We do not use any imposed words like ‘evil’ or ‘cowardice’. We don’t talk about ‘terrorists’. Not only us, but many other mass media and news organizations around the world follow this policy.
But the BBC gets special attention, which may be partly because there are critics of UK politics, the media, partly because we maintain a policy of being as objective as possible in reporting such matters.