Al Jazeera America Bans The Words ‘Terrorism,’ ‘Islamist’ And ‘Jihad’

Alex Griswold Media Reporter
Font Size:

According to emails leaking to National Review, Al Jazeera America has banned a litany of terms typically associated with radical Islamic terrorists, including “Islamist,” “jihad” and “terrorist.” (RELATED: BBC: Don’t Call Paris Attackers ‘Terrorists,’ Because That’s A ‘Loaded Word’)

“All: We manage our words carefully around here,” reads the email, sent by Al Jazeera America head of output Carlos van Meek, “So I’d like to bring to your attention some key words that have a tendency of tripping us up.”

Among the banned phrases:

  • Extremist: “Do not use. Avoid characterizing people.”
  • Terrorist and terrorism: “One person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. We will not use these terms unless attributed to a source/person.”
  • Islamist:Do not use. We will continue to describe groups and individuals, by talking about their previous actions and current aims to give viewers the context they require, rather than use a simplistic label.” [Emphasis in original]
  • Jihad: “Do not use the Arabic term. Strictly speaking, jihad means an inner spiritual struggle, not a holy war. It is not by tradition a negative term.”

The email also goes on to say the term “fighters” is preferred to terms such as “militants,” “insurgents” and “radicals.” Bizarrely, the email goes on to say the word “militant” is okay when referring to individuals, but not groups. (VIDEO: Josh Earnest: Not ‘Accurate’ To Call Paris Terrorism ‘Radical Islam’)

[h/t National Review]

Follow Alex Griswold on Twitter