14 March 2008

Terrorists, Rebels and Thugs: What’s In A Word?

Our colleagues at VOANews.com received an email from Mark on a subject we’ve visited before: the labeling of groups and individuals as “terrorists” or “rebels.” Here is what Mark wrote:

“Why do you continue to call FARC terrorists 'rebels'? They are murdering, drug-peddling thugs. Your PC-ness is beyond reason to the point that you sound ignorant of current events and the danger such groups represent to civilized people across the world. Just report the news and stop editorializing.”

First of all, Mark, let me refer you to our previous posting on this topic:

We’re sticking to that. (And it has nothing to do with “political correctness” as you call it. It has to do with our Charter, which says “VOA news will be accurate, objective and comprehensive.”) But let me make a few additional points.

While some may not approve of our decision to refer to the FARC as rebels in news stories, please note our stories routinely report that they are regarded as a terrorist organization by the US Government. (See this item or this one.)

As for Mark’s demand that we “stop editorializing, let me note our actual editorials, which reflect the official views of the US Government, do refer to the FARC as terrorists. (See this editorial.)

VOA does not provide a platform for terrorists or those who support them. As our Journalistic Code states, we are alert to and will reject efforts by anyone, foreign or domestic, to use our websites or programs as a platform for their own views.

But we do and will report the news, as they say, without fear or favor.

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