The #WordsMatter campaign, launched today by the Peace Foundation, is calling on the media to be careful not to ‘glamorise’ terrorism with the words it uses.
Terrorism survivors from across the United Kingdom are asking the press, media and those in public life to take a greater responsibility around how they report on terrorist attacks and to challenge violent extremism through their reporting and commentary following events.
(Source: Peace Foundation )
A series of short films being broadcast on social media feature survivors from attacks including London 7/7, the Manchester Arena bombing, Westminster Bridge, and the Bataclan nightclub in Paris.
As a former Fleet Street journalist and current copywriter, I know only too well how words can be used for both good and evil.
Words can manipulate, persuade, dissuade, make us laugh or cry, create hatred and heal hearts. They can be brash and they can be subtle. And in the context of news reporting, the subtle can do more damage than the brazen statements.
Figen, whose son Martyn was killed in the Manchester Arena attack explains:
“I dislike it when terms such as lone wolf, The Beatles, Jihadi John are used, they glorify these people. ‘Islamic State’, they’re not a state, they’re a group of people doing terrible things.”
Nick Taylor, Peace Foundation Chief Executive adds:
“What emerges from the interviews is that the media can be both a help and hindrance when it comes to reporting on terrorism. The media’s use of certain words and imagery can be hugely distressing for those who have experienced an attack.”
The pen wields power. We have a responsibility to be careful with our choice of words and use them as a force for good: #WordsMatter
You can read more about the campaign and watch the films here: https://www.peace-foundation.org.uk/terrorism-survivors-urge-media-report-responsibly-following-terror-attacks/