BBC report on 9/11 anniversary adheres to editorial guidelines – and that’s a problem

The BBC’s editorial guidelines on Language when Reporting Terrorism state:


As has been repeatedly documented on these pages, the BBC does not consistently adhere to those guidelines: avoidance of the word terror except in quotes is erratic and the use – or not – of the term is clearly often influenced by factors beyond the nature of the act itself.

On September 11th however, the BBC News website did produce a report which meets those editorial guidelines impeccably.9-11-art

Readers of the report titled “9/11 anniversary: Services held 15 years on” found that the word terrorism appeared just once in a direct quote from the US president.

“We are still the America that looks out for one another, bound by our shared belief that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper. In the face of terrorism, how we respond matters.”

Apart from that quote, the BBC managed to produce a report about coordinated acts of terror in which thousands of people were murdered without describing them as such in its own words. An organisation which is afraid to make a “value judgement” about such an event clearly has a very serious problem.

Related Articles:

Continuing the mapping of BBC inconsistency in terrorism reporting

Continuing to map the BBC’s inconsistent use of the term ‘terror’

BBC finds a ‘working definition’ for terrorism in Europe

More from Hadar Sela
Why has the 'impartial' BBC adopted Hamas terminology?
Over the past week or so, the BBC has put considerable effort...
Read More
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *