- The term ‘extremist’ suggest a value judgement, say Beeb bosses
- Cleric should instead be described as ‘radical’
- David Cameron accused of ‘complacency’ over Qatada situation
By Paul Revoir
Last updated at 1:58 AM on 9th February 2012
BUT IF THE BBC IS WATERING THIS DOWN WHAT IS IT DOING TO THE IRANIAN INTENT TO WIPE ISRAEL OFF THE MAP AND ANNIHILATE ALL JEWS…felix quigley
- The BBC has told its journalists not to describe Abu Qatada as an extremist.
Corporation bosses said reporters should avoid making a ‘value judgement’ – and that he should be referred to as radical instead.
This is despite the fact Qatada was known as ‘Al Qaeda’s spiritual leader in Europe’.
NOT TO LOOK FAT
Dangerous: BBC bosses have discouraged staff from describing Abu Qatada as an extremist. They have also been told to avoid using pictures of him in which he looks fat
BBC staff have also been advised against using images of the preacher looking fat. He is apparently now much slimmer than he used to be.
The instruction from BBC news bosses was described as ‘beyond belief’ by one MP and the Corporation was again accused of trying too hard to be politically correct.
Qatada will be freed from prison within days, despite the fact that a British court has described him as a ‘truly dangerous individual’.
Once out of jail, he has a judge’s permission to do the school run – but is still considered such a threat he will be allowed to walk the streets for only two hours a day.
The BBC has told its journalists that the label of extremist should be avoided or only used if attributed to someone else.
The guidance was issued at a newsroom editorial meeting held at 9am on Tuesday, which was reportedly chaired by senior manager Andrew Roy.
The Ten O’Clock News on Tuesday night duly labelled Qatada as an ‘Islamist cleric’.
WE MUST CALL HIM A RADICAL
According to notes of the meeting, seen by the Daily Telegraph, BBC staff were told: ‘Do not call him an extremist – we must call him a radical. Extremist implies a value judgement.’
Last night MPs were left speechless at the edict, which has also mystified members of the BBC’s own staff.
Philip Davies, an MP who sits on the culture, media and sport select committee, said: ‘I thought it was a joke. You really can’t make it up.
POLITICALLY CORRECT KEN CLARKE IN LINE WITH BBC
Abu Qatada ‘has not committed any crime’ and we cannot blame European human rights for his release, Ken Clarke has said.
The Justice Secretary said it was a British judge who granted him bail, and it did not have ‘anything to do with the European Court’.
Speaking at the Oldie magazine awards in central London, Mr Clarke told The Daily Telegraph: ‘I don’t think it has anything to do with the European Court, it is a question of how long you can detain someone who is not accused of committing a crime and no body intends to charge him with anything.’
Qatada is wanted in Jordan to stand trial for his alleged involvement in a Millennium bomb plot.
Mark Pritchard, Tory MP for The Wrekin in Shropshire, said: ‘This is a tragic paradox where a media organisation seems to be curbing freedom of expression and choice of words in news reporting.
‘Some senior BBC personnel need to stop…assuming everyone is as highly sensitive and politically correct as they are.’
Yesterday the corporation released a statement saying it did not ban words.
But according to insiders it had told staff to avoid using the term.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘It is not uncommon for us to discuss how we cover stories impartially and we always think very carefully about the language we use.
‘In terms of pictures, as with any story, this is a reminder to use the most up-to-date photos for accuracy.