Tags: Journalistic Standards and Practices

A Spade, A Spade

On October 7, George Achi, the CBC’s Director of Journalistic Standards and Practices and Public Trust, e-mailed all CBC journalists, urging them not to refer to Hamas as ‘terrorists’.

“Do not refer to militants, soldiers or anyone else as ‘terrorists.’ The notion of terrorism is heavily politicized and is part of the story. Even when quoting/clipping a government or a source referring to fighters as terrorists, we should add context to ensure the audience understands this is opinion, not fact. This includes statements from the Canadian government and Canadian politicians.”

Actually, calling someone a terrorist who blows people up, kidnaps civilians and threatens to behead them, and cuts babies’ throats out, is not opinion, it’s fact. We may quarrel whether one person’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist. But to avoid the use of “terrorist” to describe Hamas, let alone to practically forbid it, perverts the English language in a way that would make George Orwell gag.

The CBC’s argument is that because terrorism is part of the story, the word “terrorist” is somehow off-limits. Really? How incredibly condescending our national broadcaster is to think that people can’t read or hear the word “terrorism” and not feel compromised, or worse, offended. I say if someone can endure the actual terror of being kidnapped, murdered, and much much worse, we can endure hearing about it.

And not some pablum-ed version of it, where a “terrorist” is now just a “participant,” but an actual person “who uses violent action in order to achieve political aims or to force a government to act.”

Long before their invasion of Israel, Hamas has been condemned as a terrorist organization by dozens of countries, including Canada.

So their commitment to terror is not a matter of debate or discussion. It’s a matter of legal fact.

Get a grip, CBC.



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