2004/08/03

Complaint to BBC News on their misuse of the term "militia"

The following is a comment I posted last night to the Feedback page of BBC World News at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/help/3281777.stm . readers are encouraged to make similar comments to them about hijacking words nd playing into the hands of those who seek to reframe public debate to their own sinister purposes.

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You are misusing a legal term in some of your news reports. the term is "militia", and you are misusing it to refer to armed groups that are not militia as that term is established in English and American constitutional law, where its primary meaning is "defense activity" (res publica defendenda), and secondary meaning is those engaged in such activity. Groups like the Janjaweed in the Sudan are clearly not militia in the way they are operating. A better term would be "guerrillas" or "armed partisans".

You may reply that you are free to change the meanings of English words any way you might like, but "militia" is a critical legal term of art, especially important for a country like Britain whose "constitution" consists of a large collection of documents going back to 600 A.D. See http://www.constitution.org/sech/sech_.htm . Consider what happens to the protections of our traditional liberties if journalists change the meanings of terms like "due process", "jury", or "person". For more on how to use the term correctly see the documents beginning at http://www.constitution.org/cs_defen.htm

This misuse of the term "militia" is aligned with a political agenda of weakening constitutional protections and civic responsibility, essentially a fascist or corporatist agenda. You are not well-serving your public by supporting that agenda.

1 comment:

Robert V. said...

Bravo! It's good to finally see some citizen action, especially when those who actually know about their nation's constitution (id est, people like yourself) tell the controlled fascist media about the mishandling of such critical legal terms.

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