Volume 34 Number 4, December 2023
Editor Kim Fletcher
This website offers a selection of BJR content past and present. Additionally, green links go to currently free-to-read articles on the Sage Publishing website
Editorial The fog of war
Graham Majin explains liberal journalists
Mike White celebrates parliamentary sketches
James Hanning tackles sports writers
Ivor Gaber stands up for a free press
Zoe Broughton Taking demos viral
John Ryley Three things to improve media
Clare Jenkins Weep for your local paper…
Anon …and those who work there
Roy Greenslade The right takes down media
Glover, Greenslade, Kavanagh, Barnett Rupert Murdoch’s legacy
Mihir Bose Sport and race
Wendy Sloane Russia attacks women journalists
Jamie Wiseman Greece threatens media freedom
Lionel Barber probes the Barclay family
Phil Harding reveres Charles Wheeler
Trevor McDonald admires Clive Myrie
Henry Oliver stands up for George Orwell
Conrad Landin worries about PR men
Roy Greenslade explains a celebrated scoop
Quotes of the Quarter
The way we were
Cover photographs: Zoe Broughton
John Simpson @JohnSimpsonNews
British politicians know perfectly well why the BBC avoids the word ‘terrorist’, and over the years plenty of them have privately agreed with it. Calling someone a terrorist means you’re taking sides and ceasing to treat the situation with due impartiality. The BBC’s job is to place the facts before its audience and let them decide what they think, honestly and without ranting. That’s why, in Britain and throughout the world, nearly half a billion people watch, listen to and read us. There’s always someone who would like us to rant. Sorry, it’s not what we do.
Exactly. It concerns me to see politicians and even former BBC staff attacking the organisation on this point. There is also the critical issue of staff safety and access to places like Gaza. The terror is clear without the BBC reporter or presenter saying it.
Gerard Baker @gerardbaker
This says way more about the BBC than you think. No “taking sides” between people who deliberately target innocents for slaughter and a nation defending itself. That neutrality tells us more about moral and political judgments at the BBC than whether it uses the word “terrorist”.
steve hilton @SteveHiltonx
Honestly what the F is wrong with this pompous, soul-less, inhumane prick of a BBC “journalist” @JohnSimpsonNews Presumably he would have wanted us to not “take sides” against Hitler because that would upset “due impartiality.” No wonder nobody trusts establishment media. twitter.com/JohnSimpsonNew…
Alicia Kearns MP @aliciakearns
With respect, you’re not taking sides when they’re legally proscribed as terrorists. By law, they are terrorists.
David Aaronovitch @DAaronovitch
There are only so many times you can make the same point but here goes: the idea that by not describing Hamas goons as “terrorists” the BBC is somehow being partial towards Hamas is both ludicrous and actually dangerous. You only have to look at the reporting to see it’s false.
John Simpson @JohnSimpsonNews
I’ve come in for a lot of abuse, threats and taunts in the past few days, for defending and explaining the BBC’s standards. I’ve been yelled at in the street. But there’s one good thing — at times like this you do find out who your friends are. And aren’t.
S Sebag Montefiore @simonmontefiore
Its not just @BBC looks an ass refusing to say ‘terrorist’, its sad to see @John-SimpsonNews plead BBC rules & reliability when its reporting of Hamas atrocities wasn’t reliable, aiding deniers, & now Gaza hospital. If not for platforms X & whatsapp we wouldn’t hear the real news.