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The Associated Press Stylebook Doesn't Approve Of The Words "Ethnic Cleansing", "Islamaphobia", "Homophobia"

Politico reports that the Associated Press has decided to ban some controversial words and phrases from its famous Stylebook "in political or social contexts"—including "ethnic cleansing", and words that end in "-phobia".

When questioned on its "Ask The Editor" page about the decision to stop using the word "homophobia",, the AP responded by writing, "Phobia means irrational, uncontrollable fear, often a form of mental illness. In terms like homophobia, it's often speculation. The reasons for anti-gay feelings or actions may not be apparent. Specifics are better than vague characterizations of a person's general feelings about something."

On the removal of the phrase "ethnic cleansing", the AP told Politico, "When you break down 'ethnic cleansing,' it's a cover for terrible violent activities. It's a term we certainly don't want to [propagate]."

The Twitterati's reaction to these changes have been mixed:

What do you think? Do you agree with the AP's changes? Tell us in the comments section below.

[Image: Flickr user Christopher]

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  • vickytnz

    It's a good reminder as to how biased many words are. Another example: one style guide (think it's Chicago) bans the use of 'pro-life' and 'pro-choice', on the basis that they are biased, instead suggesting pro-abortion and anti-abortionists.