Chris Grayling, the conservative leader of the commons has asked the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) not to be impartial when it comes to reporting about ISIS.
British Members of Parliament (MP) had requested from the broadcasting organisation to stop referring to the terrorist group, ISIS, as the ‘islamic state’ and use the term ‘Daesh’ instead. The BBC rejected their requests on the grounds of the organisation’s commitment to impartiality. The leader of the House of Commons sees the BBC as the type of organisation that reports facts, and becomes a beacon of fact and hope in times of crisis, like in the struggle between Britain and Nazi Germany during WWII, and the role that the BBC played. Mr Grayling sees no point in giving the terror group the same rules of etiquette and impartiality that are given to the rest of society considering the atrocities witnessed so far by the rest of society.
Black is black, white is white and red is the colour of blood. No doubt about it. Had the BBC reported the events of WWII differently it might have affected the outcome of the war and millions would have switched off the BBC World Service. The great British war time leader, Winston Churchill would not have allowed Hitler to be called anything else except for what he was, ‘a Hitler.’
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On Wednesday the director general of the BBC, Tony Hall, rejected demands from a cross-party group of 120 MPs including Boris Johnson and Alex Salmond to use the term Daesh in its coverage, arguing that it would breach the organisation’s commitment to impartiality.
On Thursday Grayling told parliament that the broadcaster should act as a “beacon of fact” when covering threats to British security, as it did during the second world war.
“I have to say that I have a different view of what impartiality means to the BBC,” Grayling said. “During the second world war, the BBC was a beacon of fact, it was not expected to be impartial between Britain and Germany.”
The term Daesh derives from the acronym of al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil Iraq wa’al Sham, which translates as Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (Syria), and is close to “dahes”, or “one who sows discord”. The MPs argue that the term Islamic State gives the group undue credibility.
David Cameron stopped short of backing the calls for the term Daesh to be used, but described the use of the term Islamic State as “particularly offensive to many Muslims” and recommended that the BBC calls them Isis or Isil.
Grayling’s comments came in response to a question from Rehman Chishti, the Conservative MP who organised the letter to the BBC, who said: “The response that I received [to the letter] is not worth the paper it’s written on.” He called for an urgent debate in parliament on the conduct of the broadcaster.
Lord Hall said the BBC recognised that the name Islamic State could “suggest that such a state exists and such an interpretation is misleading,” adding that the organisation preferred to use terms such as the “Islamic State group” or “so-called Islamic State” to make that clear.
“I doubt, given the context we provide in our reporting, that anyone listening could be in any doubt what kind of an organisation Islamic State is,” he said.
The issue was raised to the defence secretary, Michael Fallon, by another Tory MP, James Gray, in a later debate in parliament on Thursday. “Are you aware of reports the BBC has in fact said they must be fair with Islamic State on the grounds that the coverage of the terrorist group must be impartial?” he asked the minister.
“Will you agree with me the BBC need not be impartial with murderous scumbags of the kind that Isil are and calling them Daesh is perfectly correct?”
Fallon responded: “The BBC needs to be impartial about the facts, but you can’t be impartial between terrorism and the rules by which the rest of us live.”
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