The BBC's impartial reporting of Isis is like being impartial on Nazis, Chris Grayling claims

He wants the Corporation to refer to the group using a pejorative

Jon Stone
Friday 03 July 2015 11:03
Chris Grayling
Chris Grayling

The BBC should disregard impartiality guidelines when it reports on the militant group Isis, a member of the Cabinet has said.

Chris Grayling told Parliament that the Corporation should generally not be even-handed when it came to report on threats of national security .

He noted that during the Second World War the broadcaster had not been impartial about the Nazis.

“I have to say that I have a different view of what impartiality means to the BBC,” Mr Grayling said.

“During the second world war, the BBC was a beacon of fact, it was not expected to be impartial between Britain and Germany.”

During the war the BBC’s General Overseas Service broadcasted propaganda abroad from London.

Mr Grayling’s complaint was made in response to the BBC’s director general Tony Hall rejecting demands by a group of MPs to refer to Isis as “Daesh”.

‘Daesh’ is the widely used Arabic acronym for the group, which stands for al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil Iraq wa’al Sham.

The word is a close homophone for the Arabic word “Daes” which means “one who crushes something underfoot” and “Dahes” which means “a sower of discord”.

Because of the negative connotations of these meanings, the word is sometimes used as a pejorative.

Ministers believe the term “Islamic State” gives the group false legitimacy.

The British government has tended to use the word “Isil” (‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’) to refer to the group.

The word ‘Daesh’ has become increasingly common in the West, however. The French foreign ministry adopted the term last year.

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