Guidance

Language when Reporting Terrorism

Summary

In this article

  1. Editorial Guidelines Issues
  2. Summary of Main Points

Last updated: October 2010

Editorial Guidelines Issues

This guidance note should be considered in conjunction with the following Editorial Guidelines:

  • War, Terror and Emergencies

See Editorial Guidelines Section 11 War, Terror and Emergencies: Use of Language

 

Summary of Main Points

  • There is no agreed consensus on what constitutes a terrorist or terrorist act. The use of the word will frequently involve a value judgement.
  • As such, we should not change the word "terrorist" when quoting someone else, but we should avoid using it ourselves
  • This should not mean that we avoid conveying the reality and horror of a particular act; rather we should consider how our use of language will affect our reputation for objective journalism
  • In a digital age, it is no longer possible to assume an easy split between domestic and overseas audiences.

 

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