BBC Tells Journalists: Don’t Call Anti-Abortion Campaigners ‘Pro-Life’, And Call Pro-Abortion Activists ‘Pro Choice’
The BBC has been accused of “shameless” bias after telling staff to use the term “anti-abortion” rather than “pro-life”, while at the same time referring to abortion lobbyists as “pro-choice” as they “favour a woman’s right to choose”.
The broadcaster’s official style guide says of those who favour of abortion:
“Avoid pro-abortion, and use pro-choice instead. Campaigners favour a woman’s right to choose, rather than abortion itself.”
It then tells staff to avoid the term “pro-life” and use “anti-abortion” instead. It does not give a reason why.
The guide, which applies to thousands of BBC journalists across the world, has been slammed by pro-life campaigners who have called it a “violation of journalistic objectivity” and accused the corporation of “gross ignorance”.
The BBC’s charter agreement requires it to be maintain impartiality on all controversial issues, with section 44 saying the corporation must “do all it can to ensure that controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality in all relevant output.”
Peter D. Williams of campaign group Right to Life told Breitbart London: “The BBC’s ‘News Style Guide’, is an utterly shameless example of institutional bias against the right-to-life movement, and for the abortion lobby.”
“They have entirely ignored the standard terms for the right-to-life position, and reduced it – without any reason given – to simply being ‘anti-abortion’. This is a rhetorical tactic, and an explicit violation of journalistic objectivity that is utterly unacceptable in a public broadcaster.
“Whether or not BBC bias on life issues is unconscious or pathological, this document shows that is systemic, and that the BBC staff who composed it either cynically or in gross ignorance have stacked the language of the debate in abortion lobbyists’ favour.
“The BBC must reverse this policy, and apologise for their utter lack of consultation and fair-mindedness in forming it.”
The BBC told Breitbart London: “Our aim is to report impartially and we use the terminology that most accurately reflects both sides of the abortion debate.”
BBC Style Guide Tells Journos: Mohammed Is ‘The Prophet’, No Mention For ‘Son Of God’ Jesus
Journalists at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) should refer to the Islamic prophet, Mohammed, as “the Prophet”, according to the corporation’s in-house style guide.
Under the section labelled “Muhammad”, the guide says: “For the founder of Islam, our style is the Prophet Muhammad; at second reference Muhammad or the Prophet.”
This advice is repeated in the sections on “Arabic names” and “Islam”.
The assertion that Mohammed is “the Prophet”, with a capital P, will likely cause controversy. While followers of Islam believe him to be the last prophet sent by God – Christians, Jews, atheists and followers of other religions do not regard him as a prophet at all.
There are also questions over whether Mohammed and Islam are being given special treatment in the style guide, which does not tell journalists how to refer to significant figures from other religions.
It does not, for example, tell staff to refer to Jesus as “Son of God”, “Our Lord” or “The Messiah”, nor does it say to call the Buddha by any of his Ten Titles, or offer any advice on how to refer to holy figures from Hinduism or Sikhism.
The guide also teaches journalists how to refer to non-believers of Islam, stating: “The Islamic concept of unbelief, of being outside Islam, is kufr. An unbeliever is a kafir – the plural is kuffar. However, in a direct quote ‘kafirs’ is acceptable.”
This is not the first controversy the BBC has found itself in over the subject of Islam. In November, it used the words “hateful”, “Islamophobic” and “bad timing” to describe a hashtag used by atheist ex-Muslims to explain why they left the faith.
Former Muslims tweeted under #ExMuslimBecause, expressing views such as “I know being a woman doesn’t make me lesser” and “I couldn’t handle hearing my own family say that Shi’as, my neighbours and best friends, are kuffar”.
However, a BBC programme on the hashtag featured two male Muslim “community experts” calling it “problematic ” and “hateful”.
Yesterday, Breitbart London reported how the BBC’s style guide also tells journalists to avoid using the term “pro-life” to refer to campaigners against abortion, but encouraged the use of “pro-choice” to refer to their opponents.
Pro-life campaigners called it “an utterly shameless example of institutional bias against the right-to-life movement, and for the abortion lobby.”
Read more from Breitbart London.