Sunday 9 February 2020

In common parlance

Another one for connoisseurs of BBC complaint responses...

There's no such position as “the Palestinian ambassador to the UK” or “the Palestinian ambassador to London” but in late January the BBC - Today and the World Service - repeatedly described Husam Zomlot as being such. BBC Watch complained and, three days ago, received this reply:
Thank you for contacting us regarding the Today programme and Newshour, both broadcast on Tuesday 28th January. 
We have spoken with senior staff about your concerns. We acknowledge the point that Husam Zomlot is not strictly speaking an ambassador, although the phrase is in common parlance in the media. We will remind editors of his actual title, but it is clear from our wider reporting that the UK does not recognise Palestine as a state.  
That's an interesting precedent. BBC accuracy can go whistle if a phrase, it seems, jf something not strictly accurate "is in common parlance in the media". 

It's common parlance, beyond the BBC, to call Hamas and Hezbollah 'terrorist organisations', so might this signal a massive shift in how the BBC refers to both of them from now on? (Very unlikely.)


  1. I've run such precedent past a few keen advocates of BBC guidelines, and offered a few suggestions of how it could be deployed to my satisfaction.

    No replies (printable) as yet.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.