BBC News website flip-flops on description of Brussels attacks as terrorism – part one

The March 22nd terror attacks at the airport and on the metro in Brussels in which over thirty people were murdered and hundreds wounded were of course covered in depth on the BBC News website and in particular on its Europe page. The website’s main article on that day went through numerous understandable changes as events unfolded and information came to light.

Originally titled “Brussels Zaventem airport rocked by two explosions”, the article now appears under the headline “Brussels attacks: Zaventem and Maelbeek bombs kill many” but the journey between those two headlines highlights some interesting editorial decisions.

The original headline was later changed to read “Brussels Zaventem airport blasts cause casualties” and still later to “Brussels Zaventem airport and metro explosions ‘kill at least 13′” and then “Brussels explosions: Airport and metro hit with ‘at least 13 killed'”.

Brussels main art 1


Around four hours after the first attacks took place the headline was amended to read “Brussels explosions: Many dead in airport and metro terror attacks” and the article’s opening paragraph also used the term “terrorist attacks”.

“Many people have been killed or seriously injured in terrorist attacks at Brussels international airport and a city metro station, Belgium’s PM says.”

Brussels main art 2


The next two versions of the report carried the same headline and opening paragraph and at around the same time the BBC News website’s Europe page also used the word terror in its main headline.

Brussels attacks terror Europe page

Just under two hours later, that headline was again amended to read “Brussels attacks: At least 26 dead at Zaventem and Maelbeek” but the opening paragraph still informed readers that terror attacks had taken place.

“At least 26 people have been killed or seriously injured in terrorist attacks at Brussels international airport and a city metro station.”

Final version

Final version

Subsequently the headline was again updated to “Brussels attacks: At least 31 dead at Zaventem and Maelbeek” and the word ‘terrorist’ was removed from the opening paragraph.

“At least 31 people have been killed and many seriously injured in attacks at Brussels international airport and a city metro station.”

None of the five subsequent versions of the article used the word terror in either the headline or the opening paragraph.

So as we see, despite having at some point been accurately able to identify and name the horrific events in Brussels as terror attacks, BBC editors later went out of their way to expunge that description from the website’s main report. As we shall see in part two of this post, that article was not the only one affected by that editorial policy.

4 comments on “BBC News website flip-flops on description of Brussels attacks as terrorism – part one

  1. Nothing new in the BBC’s reporting of this atrocity. It will never put blame on the root cause – extremists following the teachings of Islam to kill all infidels by any act including terrorism.

  2. Pingback: BBC News website flip-flops on description of Brussels attacks as terrorism – part two | BBC Watch

  3. Malick CeesayTerrorism the new phase to accuse the most pure religion islam, its true izaa jaa akal munafiquun is still existing in islam and those other accusers but my advice is angels anger does not fit on earth then start thinking about allahs anger then, if you are truely a beleiver inallahs monothesm, Dont take your personal problems wether political, economical or worldly superiority to religious matters, if allah dont trouble you then dont trouble allah. wether you are a muslim or not be truthful to yourself that if by bombing or helping to over throw the muslim leaders is islam then you are truely wrong. humans i know are stuborn nothing u can say it enters in there heart after an ideology get there, but what is important is be truthful to yourselves wether you are a muslim or non muslim involve in terrorism is better to quit. Why is anyone who wants to be fame use islam as the way to meet there goal? what we need to say about terrorism is how it started? people and enermies of islam always say the conclusion ohh that suicide bomb is the islamic jihadist, now those who use to say that, tell me what was the last command to fight withafter the prophet muhammad s.a.w captured makka? The prophet muhammamd s.a.w said now its left with the last and biggest fight which he said is jihadu naff fight with your souls, to ignore the worldly things and the materialistic things and give your souls to allah, worship him praise him and get together in unity and peace, which means get together and never allow enemies to get through or between you, meaning always defend yourselves when attack but aggressing is no more in islam. Make prepare your nations with all neccessary means ro defend eachother only when attack, the only jihad the muslim have is fight with your soul to defend islam, but today we are separated and always eager to see eachother falling down onlyfor your worldly needs, then jihad naff is still weak in us and if its weak then we become weakall muslim world in general. Stop the conspiracies and lets try get together as one muslim community forget about our school of taught differences or our community names differences being sunni, shia or sufis is all one quran and sunna we look everyday to learn and heal ourselves from sins, and empower ourselves by allahs grace, stop misinterpretingto the muslim about race or ethnical or politicalwar with islamic rites, defend your kingship, presidency or race or ethnical superiority with your worldly ideology and stop accusing or usingislam as your backbone or as a weapon to defend your worldly needs. If you are able to see yourselves in this article as you are wrong in your ideology then return back to allah and seek repentance allah is all the time welcomes repentance, sometimes talking directly the holyscriptures might make some doubful just like how does before or still deny the quran, bible and torah, so there is the need to use general knowledge so that the crazy ones can understand, the holy scriptures are not for crazy peoples, but for people of understanding allah said it not me. May allah bless all.muslims,and non muslim with the religion of all past prophets which is the path of civilisation and light of science which put humans to the higheststatus of develoment which all prophet said its is islam means peace, so let the word of peace gains its meaning, may allah make us wether muslim or non muslim know the importance of peace so that all can live in peace and unity, ourunity wether muslim or non muslim makes allah happy and give all his bounties and mercy he got, lets stop the conspiracies and get together as one world our earth we got and if we destroy it, we end up destroy by allah just like the previous peoples or jinns. I appeal to all words i have said here just the tongue cannot express everything the heart says but with the pen, it often feels the hearts beats, i am praying to allah s.w.a his peace and his blessings be upon all muslims and non muslim and may allah guide all non muslims to see the truth of islam as the way to allah and accept it without doubt only if you doubt allah you do things you dont know because you are having mix misunderstood ideology, all the things from the heart cannot be uttered out surely, remeber the prophey muhammad s.a.w said whatever you do is the intention allah looks for,so never use intention for your worldly needs to trouble people and in turn for allahs sake islam says nooooo to it be calm and is bettet as far as you live in peace do the big final jihad which is fight with your own souls, means like i said early forget about the materialistic world and purify yourselves allah will guide his quran for himself he said it not me. thank you all readers may allah repay all those who took there tome to read this article note of being human and muslim for allah to bless and purify our hearts, for allah to bestow us understandingof the religion of islam Ameeeeen Allahuma salli alaa sayiduna muhammad wa alaa alihii wa sahbihi wasalam

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