Saturday, 18 March 2017

To return to the theme of an earlier post...

The Sky News website's report on the Paris airport attack still begins: "A radicalised Muslim on a terror watchlist opened fire on three police officers at a road check before attacking a soldier at a Paris airport".

The individual was a "radicalised Muslim known to intelligence services" a police source said.
You won't, however, find that quote or the word 'Muslim' anywhere in the BBC News website's report. The nearest it gets is the phrase "radicalised individuals".

The BBC always treads more carefully than others when this kind of news story is unfolding.

Update (14:15): According to the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror and Daily Mail, the attacker's name is Ziyed Ben Belgacem, a Frenchman with a Tunisian family background. Sky News names him as Ziyed B. The BBC News website hasn't updated its report with this information yet.

Update (20:00): The name Ziyed Ben Belgacem has finally been reported on the BBC website within the last half an hour. According to NewsSniffer the BBC made the change from "the 39-year-old" to 'Ziyed B.' at 17:10 and the change from 'Ziyed B' to 'Ziyed Ben Belgacem' at 19:45. This latest version reports that Ben Belgacem said he wanted to "die for Allah" and that a Koran was found on his body. The BBC's headline is now:

Sky's headline is now:


  1. More of the same from the BBC. If we remember the machete attack outside Le Louvre in early February, the BBC reported the assailant as shouting, 'God is great'. It was reported in other media that he shouted 'Allahu akbar'. Did we need the BBC to translate these words for us? It is more likely that the BBC decided that a translation would avoid the obvious association between 'Allahu akbar' and terrorism.

  2. The News Channel 7 pm edition invited a (muslim) expert to tell us that, sometimes, terrorists are mentally ill or inadvertently radicalised by the security forces - the moon-faced Martine nodded encouragingly... The expert view was expunged from the 8 pm edition.

  3. Clear bias by deliberate omission. I'm not going to complain about the anodyne headline, but surely it's fair to say the BBC was lying when they previously reported that the attacker's motive was unknown.