The BBC is being castigated for its repeated failure to describe those who carried out the massacre of the innocents at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi as terrorists. Rightly so in my view.
The 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.
This is par for the course for the BBC, like the UN, it shies away from the terrorist word because to use it is to be…judgemental and the BBC must not be seen to be biased.
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.’ Rob Wilson, Conservative MP for Reading East, said: ‘Most members of the British public would see the planned and systematic murder of dozens of innocent people in Kenya as terrorism.”
But the BBC is adamant. They are not terrorists. They are simply “militants” — just like those who serve in our Armed Forces. The fact that they shoot unarmed men women and children to death in a shopping centre must not be judged as terrorism. Such is the world when viewed through the prism of the BBC.