The BBC was called "mad" after one of its top executives, the head of BBC Arabic Tarik Kafala, said that the Charlie Hebdo killers should not be described as "terrorists".
Mr Kafala, whose BBC Arabic television, radio and online news services - the largest of the BBC’s non-English language news services - reach a weekly audience of 36 million people, explained: “We try to avoid describing anyone as a terrorist or an act as being terrorist. What we try to do is to say that ‘two men killed 12 people in an attack on the office of a satirical magazine’. That’s enough, we know what that means and what it is.”
The BBC, whose own guidance also states that the word "terrorist" is considered "a barrier", backed his comments but faced a storm of criticism from peers and MPs over its "outrageous" decision to not use the term.
In line with its editorial guidelines, the BBC coverage of the Paris attacks in which 17 people were murdered, as well as that of last month's Taliban school massacre in Peshawar, Pakistan, carefully avoided using the expression "terrorist", except when quoting other people's words.
BBC TV, radio and online reports described the murderers as "militants" or "gunmen" instead.
Mr Kafala added: “Terrorism is such a loaded word. The UN has been struggling for more than a decade to define the word and they can’t. It is very difficult to. We know what political violence is, we know what murder, bombings and shootings are and we describe them. That’s much more revealing, we believe, than using a word like 'terrorist' which people will see as value-laden.”
And for Mr Kafala, I suppose, if "terrorist" should be avoided for being too little revealing, "Muslim" must be avoided for being too revealing.