Refugees or Migrants? Debate Over Words to Describe Crisis

STOCKHOLM (AP) - Day after day, images of soaked and exhausted parents clutching their glassy-eyed children as they arrive on Europe's shores make their way around the world.

That they are desperate and vulnerable after a harrowing journey across the Mediterranean on rickety rafts or packed ships is beyond doubt. But does that make them refugees from war or oppression, with a right to protection under international law, or are they better described as migrants, a term that usually refers to people simply seeking a better life in another country?

The scenes of human suffering, resilience, hope and rejection playing out in the Mediterranean have sparked an emotional and politically charged debate about what to call the hundreds of thousands of people from Africa and the Middle East who are entering Europe.

Al-Jazeera last week announced that it will stop using the word migrants in its news coverage, saying it doesn't describe the "horror unfolding in the Mediterranean," where almost 2,500 people have died this year after leaving Turkey or North Africa on overcrowded boats.

The word "has evolved from its dictionary definitions into a tool that dehumanizes and distances, a blunt pejorative," Al-Jazeera online editor Barry Malone said. Going forward, Al-Jazeera will instead say refugee "where appropriate." [READ FULL ARTICLE HERE]