BBC News vocabulary

Valdemar   Friday, September 03, 2004, 21:12 GMT
I was watching BBC News 24, and got an interesting observation.
I noticed that BBC never call Russinan Chechen rebels "terrorists". Why is that? Possibly I just don't know some journalism language subtleties.
Damian   Friday, September 03, 2004, 21:37 GMT

I have seen and heard news reports today of the terrible events in Chechnya.....on both BBC-TV and independent channels.... and the word "terrrorists" seemed to be used quite freely.
Boy   Friday, September 03, 2004, 22:08 GMT
What's the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist?

Thank you
Damian   Friday, September 03, 2004, 22:17 GMT
Both are attributed to the same individuals but used by the opposing factions accordingly. One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist.
Dulcinea del Toboso   Friday, September 03, 2004, 22:59 GMT
"What's the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist?"

Freedom fighters don't hold children hostage and kill them.
Valdemar   Friday, September 03, 2004, 23:04 GMT

They definitely called them "terrorists" on Sky and probably ITV (don't remeber). This is why I asked about BBC. Probably I just missed.

P.S. Small correction: the siege was in Russia, not in Chechnya. Osetia is not a part of Chechnya as far as I know.
Valdemar   Friday, September 03, 2004, 23:06 GMT
Ok then, what's the difference between freedom fighters and rebells?
I mean linguistically.
Mxsmanic   Friday, September 03, 2004, 23:22 GMT
The difference is in the point of view of the speaker.
Marie   Saturday, September 04, 2004, 01:09 GMT
Freedom fighter:
A person who uses violent methods to try to remove a government from power.

A person who uses violent actions for political purposes.

A person who is opposed to the political system in their country and tries to change it using force, or a person who shows their disagreement with the ideas of people in authority or of society by behaving differently.

Those creatures who used the children to get what they wanted are just plain mass murderers to me.
Random Chappie   Saturday, September 04, 2004, 01:37 GMT
Hee hee--there's a BBC reporter named Damian Grammaticus! His name appears in the BBC News Online article on the Ossetia school catastrophe (
Steve K   Saturday, September 04, 2004, 05:47 GMT
Lets leave out the politics and deal with language.

A terrorist uses terror as a tactical objective. The objective is to terrorize, to frighten. The victims of terror need not be the direct enemy. Anyone is valid as a means to exert pressure or create a sense of terror. The objective is therefore different from that of an army. It is not to take a town, capture a leader or achieve any other tactical objective. Terror is the tactical objective even though the eventual goal may be territorial gain, political gain or independence or whatever.

A freedom fighter is typically someone who feels suppressed and fights to remove the cause of that perceived oppression. A freedom fighter is not necessariy a terrorist. He/she may engage his direct enemies in a struggle and not threaten third parties such as innocent civilians.

A rebel is simply someone opposed to the established order. He may or may not be violent, organized, or a terrorist.

A hostage taker may be a terrorist, a criminal or simply a madman. It is not normally the strategy of established armed forces.

So, one man's freedom fighter is not simply another man's terrorist. It is not a matter of point of view.... n'en deplaise aux intellectuels gauchistes de mode.
Damian   Saturday, September 04, 2004, 07:12 GMT
<<P.S. Small correction: the siege was in Russia, not in Chechnya. Osetia is not a part of Chechnya as far as I know. >> are correct, the horror occurred in Russia.....stupid me.

<<there's a BBC reporter named Damian Grammaticus>>

Random:..... hee hee......teeny weeny mistake on your part now....his name is actually Damian GrammaticAs...can you believe that last name? He seems to live up to it anyhow!
Jim   Monday, September 06, 2004, 01:38 GMT
I agree with Steve K. By the definitions he gave I'd say that last week's villains were terrorists. I can't remember whether I heard them so called by the BBC. If they didn't call them "terrorists", I can't explain why. Ask the BBC.

Of course, if your talking about "Russinan Chechen rebels" in general then I don't think it would be correct to call them all "terrorists". This goes back to the definitions of the terms summed up well, in my opinion, by Steve K. A rebel is not necessarily a terrorist.

Another small correction. Valdemar is correct saying that the siege was in Russia. He's also correct in saying that it was not in Chechnya. But if you write "... the siege was in Russia, not in Chechnya.", the impression you give is that Chechnya is not part of Russia.

Chechnya is part of Russia. Chechnya is one of the twenty-one republics of the Russian Federation. This is what the whole fight is about: the separatists want independance for Chechnya from Russia.

The following is taken from the "CIA World Factbook" (& rearranged by me to make it more comprehensible).

49 oblasts, 21 republics*, 10 autonomous okrugs**, 6 krays***, 2 federal cities**** and 1 autonomous oblast*****.

Autonomous Oblast*****
(avtonomnaya oblast');

1 Yevreyskaya*****;

Federal Cities
(singular - gorod)****,

1 Moskva (Moscow)****, 2 Sankt-Peterburg (Saint Petersburg)****,

(krayev, singular - kray),

1 Altayskiy (Barnaul)***, 2 Khabarovskiy***, 3 Krasnodarskiy***, 4 Krasnoyarskiy***, 5 Primorskiy (Vladivostok)***, 6 Stavropol'skiy***,

Autonomous Okrugs**
(avtonomnykh okrugov, singular - avtonomnyy okrug),

1 Aginskiy Buryatskiy (Aginskoye)**, 2 Chukotskiy (Anadyr')**, 3 Evenkiyskiy (Tura)**, 4 Khanty-Mansiyskiy (Khanty-Mansiysk)**, 5 Koryakskiy (Palana)**, 6 Nenetskiy (Nar'yan-Mar)**, 7 Komi-Permyatskiy (Kudymkar)**, 8 Taymyrskiy (Dudinka)**, 9 Ust'-Ordynskiy Buryatskiy (Ust'-Ordynskiy)**, 10 Yamalo-Nenetskiy (Salekhard)**,

(respublik, singular - respublika),

1 Adygeya (Maykop)*, 2 Altay (Gorno-Altaysk)*, 3 Bashkortostan (Ufa)*, 4 Buryatiya (Ulan-Ude)*, 5 Chechnya (Groznyy)*, 6 Chuvashiya (Cheboksary)*, 7 Dagestan (Makhachkala)*, 8 Ingushetiya (Nazran')*, 9 Kabardino-Balkariya (Nal'chik)*, 10 Kalmykiya (Elista)*, 11 Karachayevo-Cherkesiya (Cherkessk)*, 12 Kareliya (Petrozavodsk)*, 13 Khakasiya (Abakan)*, 14 Komi (Syktyvkar)*, 15 Mariy-El (Yoshkar-Ola)*, 16 Mordoviya (Saransk)*, 17 Sakha (Yakutiya)*, 18 Severnaya Osetiya-Alaniya [North Ossetia] (Vladikavkaz)*, 19 Tatarstan (Kazan')*, 20 Tyva (Kyzyl)*, 21 Udmurtiya (Izhevsk)*,

(oblastey, singular - oblast),

1 Amurskaya (Blagoveshchensk), 2 Arkhangel'skaya, 3 Astrakhanskaya, 4 Belgorodskaya, 5 Bryanskaya, 6 Chelyabinskaya, 7 Chitinskaya, 8 Irkutskaya, 9 Ivanovskaya, 10 Kaliningradskaya, 11 Kaluzhskaya, 12 Kamchatskaya (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy), 13 Kemerovskaya, 14 Kirovskaya, 15 Kostromskaya, 16 Kurganskaya, 17 Kurskaya, 18 Leningradskaya, 19 Lipetskaya, 20 Magadanskaya, 21 Moskovskaya, 22 Murmanskaya, 23 Nizhegorodskaya, 24 Novgorodskaya, 25 Novosibirskaya, 26 Omskaya, 27 Orenburgskaya, 28 Orlovskaya (Orel), 29 Penzenskaya, 30 Permskaya, 31 Pskovskaya, 32 Rostovskaya, 33 Ryazanskaya, 34 Sakhalinskaya (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), 35 Samarskaya, 36Saratovskaya, 37 Smolenskaya, 38 Sverdlovskaya (Yekaterinburg), 39 Tambovskaya, 40 Tomskaya, 41 Tul'skaya, 42 Tverskaya, 43 Tyumenskaya, 44 Ul'yanovskaya, 45 Vladimirskaya, 46 Volgogradskaya, 47 Vologodskaya, 48 Voronezhskaya, 49 Yaroslavskaya,

note - when using a place name with an adjectival ending 'skaya' or 'skiy,' the word Oblast' or Avonomnyy Okrug or Kray should be added to the place name

note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centres (exceptions have the administrative centre name following in parentheses)
soni   Tuesday, September 07, 2004, 03:34 GMT
Sorry about my English. I am an English learner here.

But, I'll try to join the discussion. I agree with you who think that the use of "terrorist" and "fighter" will be used differently. I mean, one side will think that their enemy as the terrorist, and vice versa.
Margaret   Wednesday, September 08, 2004, 12:45 GMT
I think the BBC's reputation for impartial reporting would not be as high as it is if it used judgemental words about complex situations. Similarly, I do not think there would be as much bloodshed if more people followed the BBC's example.