BBC and CBC Refuse to Call Hamas “Terrorists” or Refer to Their Actions as “Terrorism”


The British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, is a publicly financed broadcasting system in Great Britain, operating under royal charter, the oldest and largest public broadcasting service in the UK and globally.  BBC boasts about its supposed “impartiality” and “independence” in reporting, but CAMERA has long challenged BBC editors on their grievous lack of objectivity and double standards in news reporting about the Jewish state.

In the wake of the Oct. 7th Palestinian terrorist invasion and savagery against Jews in Israel (which included the terrorists going house to house, Nazi einzsatzgruppen-style, to gun down entire families—men women, children, infants and the elderly; targeting youth at an open-air concert, murdering, raping, torturing, burning alive, mutilating their victims and taking hostages; parading and abusing their Israeli hostages to the cheering and jeering of Palestinians in Gaza in large street celebrations) the BBC has received considerable pushback for refusing to term the perpetrators of the shocking atrocities “terrorists”. In response to the criticism, BBC’s World Affairs Editor John Simpson just doubled down, self-righteously priding the BBC for not making any judgements:

“Terrorism is a loaded word, which people use about an outfit they disapprove of morally. It’s simply not the BBC’s job to tell people who to support and who to condemn – who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.” (John Simpson, “Why BBC doesn’t call Hamas militants ‘terrorists’”)

But such moral judgements have been made repeatedly by BBC editors when the “bad guys” – the terrorists – are not-Palestinians and the “good guys” – the victims – are not Jews. Reporting on terrorist attacks in London, Kuwait, France, Tunisia, Norway and Northern Island, BBC has employed the term “terror” or “terrorists” to refer to the attacks and/or to the perpetrators.     A more detailed analysis of BBC’s double standards is available here.

This hypocrisy, however, doesn’t factor into Simpson’s self-righteous justification, as he boasts:

“it’s always been like this in the BBC. During World War Two, BBC broadcasters were expressly told not to call the Nazis evil or wicked [whose targets were also primarily Jews], even though we could and did call them “the enemy”…


The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC, that fashions itself on its British counterpart, is Canada’s national public broadcasting service.  It has followed BBC’s lead. George Achii, CBC’s Director of Journalistic Standards and Practices and Public Trust, sent out a directive to its journalists with the following instructions:

“Do not refer to militants, soldiers, or anyone else as ‘terrorists’. The notion of terrorism remains heavily politicized and is part of the story. Even when quoting/clipping a government or a source referring to fighters as ‘terrorists,’ we should add context to ensure the audience understands this is opinion, not fact.”

And like the BBC, the CBC does employ the term “terrorist” to refer to attacks in Canada and to their  perpetrators, as well as to terrorist attacks elsewhere.  It just eschews the use of “terrorist” to describe Palestinian terrorist attacks on Jewish civilians in the Jewish state, no matter how depraved and heinous are the atrocities that were perpetrated.  

The UK government and the Canadian government both designate Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the perpetrators of the kidnappings and massacres in Israel, as terrorist organizations. Parliamentarians in both countries have accurately referred to the perpetrators as terrorists. 

Yet the BBC and CBC steadfastly refuse to recognize the designation of Palestinian terrorist groups.  While the public broadcasters attempt to portray themselves as more objective than the governments and taxpayers that fund them, the BBC –- financed primarily by British taxpayers’ TV licensing fees set by the British Parliament -– and the CBC –- financed primarily by  a parliamentary appropriation that is voted upon by all members of Parliament – are displaying double standards and extreme bias that can only stem from either antisemitism, moral cowardice, profound ignorance or a combination of all three.    

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