BBC Home
Explore the BBC
Low graphics|Accessibility help
newswatch banner
Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
Why does BBC use 'insurgents'?
Audience question:

Why have you used the word insurgents to describe the resistance the US is facing?

BBC's response:

The use of such words is often contentious.

This term was decided upon because it describes people who are "rising in active revolt".

It is the best word to use in situations of rebellion or conquest when there is no free-standing government.

We aim to provide our audiences with the information they need to make their own judgements.

Having consulted widely, this is probably the most appropriate word to use in the case of the fighters in Falluja, as distinct from civilians who may be staying in the city for other reasons, such as they're old or ill or want to protect their homes from possible looting.

On Radio Five Live's Drive programme, there was a discussion on this very issue.

The broadcaster and sociologist Professor Laurie Taylor was asked about whether the BBC should call the fighters in Falluja "insurgents", "resistance fighters" or "militants".

He replied: "We should probably credit the BBC with getting it right - with the word insurgent."

- Helen Boaden, Director of BBC News


^^ back to top
BBC News frontpage | NewsWatch | Notes | Contact us | Profiles | History
BBC News Newswatch Friday 20:45 on BBC News 24 and Saturday 07:45 Breakfast