BBC defies Cameron's plea and will continue to use the term Islamic State - Press Gazette

BBC defies Cameron's plea and will continue to use the term Islamic State

The BBC will continue to use the term Islamic State to describe the jihadist group in order to maintain the broadcaster's impartiality, its director general has said.

Conservative Rehman Chishti and more than 120 other MPs had written to Tony Hall to ask that the corporation use the term Daesh in reports about the group's activities as it was an acronym with "negative connotations".

But in a response to Chishti, Hall said using Daesh instead of Islamic State "would not preserve the BBC's impartiality".

Most other UK news organisations also use the term Islamic State in reports.

The debate surrounding the use of Islamic State has gathered pace in recent weeks and Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested the media follow the Government by referring to the jihadists as ISIS or ISIL.

According to The Times, Lord Hall said Daesh was a "pejorative name coined in Arabic by its enemies", including supporters of Syrian president Bashar Assad.

"Unfortunately this term may give the impression of support for those who coined it and that would not preserve the BBC's impartiality," he said.

"We have recognised that used on its own the name Islamic State could suggest that such a state exists and such an interpretation is misleading."

The broadcaster used caveats such as "so-called Islamic State" or "Islamic State group", he added.

"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 wrote.

Chishti, who has campaigned for the name change, told the paper he felt the response was "unacceptable" and branded it an "excuse".

On Monday the Prime Minister told the Commons he could not see the broadcaster moving all the way from Islamic State to Daesh, as he condemned the terror group as a "barbaric regime of terrorism and oppression".



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