POLITICS

BBC Should Not Be Impartial Over ISIL, Says Cabinet Minister

02/07/2015 12:13 BST | Updated 02/07/2015 12:59 BST
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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 22: People walk near the entrance to BBC Broadcasting House on October 22, 2012 in London, England. A BBC1 'Panorama' documentary to be broadcast later tonight contains new allegations about the handling by BBC2 programme 'Newsnight' concerning claims of sexual abuse allegedly carried out by fomer BBC television presenter, Jimmy Savile, the transmission of which was subsequently dropped. Police have confirmed that Sir Jimmy Savile, the BBC presenter and DJ who died in October 2011 aged 84, may have sexually abused young girls on BBC premises. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

The BBC should not be impartial when it comes to reporting ISIL, Cabinet Minister Chris Grayling said today.

The former Justice Secretary, who is now Leader of the Commons, argued the broadcaster should adopted a Second World War mentality when covering the terrorist group.

Mr Grayling said the BBC should present facts, but not be impartial against an organisation which threatens Britain’s security.

His comments come days after the Prime Minister chastised the BBC live on air over its use of the term “Islamic State”, urging the broadcaster to use the phrase “so-called Islamic State” or “ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant]”.

In the House of Commons this morning, Mr Grayling said: “I have a different view of what impartiality means to the BBC.

“During the Second World War the BBC was a beacon of fact. It was not expected to be impartial between Britain and Germany.

“Today, it should be a beacon of fact but it’s not expected to be impartial about threats to the security and safety and lives and limbs of people of this nation.”

Mr Grayling made the comments after a question from Rehman Chishti, the Tory MP for Gillingham and Rainham.

Mr Chishti said he wrote to the BBC asking for the organisation to use the word “Daesh” to describe the terrorist group operating in Syria and Iraq.

Daesh is an acronym al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil Iraq wa’al Sham, which translates as Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (Syria).

The letter was signed by 120 MPs, including London Mayor Boris Johnson.

The BBC responded by saying use of the word would breach impartiality as it is used by opponents of the group.

In the Commons today, Mr Chishti said: “I have to say the response is not worth the paper it’s written on.”