Another reminder of the BBC’s inconsistency on terrorism

On July 25th the BBC News website published a report written by its Europe editor, Paul Kirby, concerning the outcome of a trial held in the Belgian capital. Headlined ‘Brussels bombers found guilty after long murder trial’, that article includes the use of the words terrorist and terror, as one would of course expect to find in coverage of a court case concerning terror attacks.

“A court in Brussels has found six men guilty of terrorist murder, more than seven years after suicide bomb attacks killed 32 people at the city’s airport and a metro station in March 2016. […]

Several of those on trial had already been convicted of taking part in the Paris terror attacks months earlier. […]

Four other men were found guilty of terrorist murder: Oussama Atar, Osama Krayem, Ali El Haddad Asufi and Bilal El Makhoukhi. […]

Two men, a Tunisian and a Rwandan, were cleared of murder but were convicted of taking part in terrorist activities, along with the other six.” [emphasis added]

Readers may recall that when those terror attacks took place in Brussels in March 2016, some of the BBC’s reports at the time had the word terror removed from later versions:

BBC NEWS WEBSITE FLIP-FLOPS ON DESCRIPTION OF BRUSSELS ATTACKS AS TERRORISM – PART ONE

BBC NEWS WEBSITE FLIP-FLOPS ON DESCRIPTION OF BRUSSELS ATTACKS AS TERRORISM – PART TWO

However, three months later the BBC did use the terms terrorism, terrorist and terror in reports on arrests made in the Belgian capital.

The BBC’s inconsistent use of those terms is therefore obviously not related to whether or not an incident has been proved to be terrorism in a court of law.

Indeed, as we documented in June 2016, when an Israeli court sentenced four members of Hamas to life imprisonment for the murders of an Israeli couple, the BBC reported that story without using the words terrorist, terrorism or terror, preferring to describe the perpetrators as “Palestinians” and “assailants”.

WHAT WORD IS MISSING FROM BBC REPORT ON SENTENCING OF HAMAS TERRORISTS?

Similarly, while the Belgian police conduct “counter-terror raids”, as we have seen repeatedly in recent months similar activities by the Israeli security forces are portrayed mere as a ‘raid’, an ‘operation’ or even an ‘assault’.

As we have observed on all too many occasions in the past, until the BBC is capable of coming up with a uniform approach to reporting acts of terrorism wherever – and by whoever – they are perpetrated, its reputation for objectivity and accuracy will obviously remain compromised.

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