OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
4:20 PM – Thursday, October 12, 2023
A reporter for the BBC has resigned after the broadcast station repeatedly chose to not classify Hamas as “terrorists” in its coverage of the violent attacks on Israel.
Jewish sports reporter Noah Abrahams, 22, voiced that the BBC’s decision to not describe Hamas’s actions as terrorism was “unjustified” and argued that words, or lack thereof, have the power to exacerbate conflict.
The BBC has recently faced backlash for referring to Hamas solely as a “militant group” and describing the horrific violence against Israelis as a “militant” attack.
In a recent interview, Abrahams explained the reasons that led to his decision to quit his job, noting that he realizes this was a “monumental career life decision.”
“I have morals and I stick by them. Words impact how we think, how we react, how we act. They have influence. [Hamas] aren’t freedom fighters. They’re terrorists,” Abrahams continued.
The BBC has not officially commented on the sports reporter’s exit. However, a spokesperson for the broadcaster issued the following statement on “language” policy.
“We always take our use of language very seriously. Anyone watching or listening to our coverage will hear the word ‘terrorist’ used many times – we attribute it to those who are using it, for example, the U.K. Government. This is an approach that has been used for decades, and is in line with that of other broadcasters. The BBC is an editorially independent broadcaster whose job is to explain precisely what is happening ‘on the ground’ so our audiences can make their own judgment.”
Meanwhile, various governmental officials have spoken out about the controversy. U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said the policy is “verging on disgraceful”.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer have also urged the BBC to revise its policy.
John Simpson, a BBC broadcaster, posted a response to the criticism on X, formerly known as Twitter.
David Jordan, the director of editorial policy and standards, asserted that the guideline has been in place for years in an effort to avoid a perception of “bias.”
“It’s about making sure that all audiences trust the information that we’re giving them, that they don’t think the BBC is coming at this from one side of the conflict as opposed to the other, and that we steer a course though this in very difficult circumstances in which our journalism can continue to be factual, accurate, impartial and truthful,” Jordan continued.
Despite the BBC’s statement on language policy, Abrahams continued to defend his decision to resign.
“British Jews are terrified, and so am I, and I don’t feel like I can stand by the BBC any longer with their stance on terminology,” Abrahams concluded.
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