Credit: By ToastyKen on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

An article published in the BMJ explores how widely used terms such as 'developing countries' and 'emerging economies' can carry negative connotations and perpetuate harmful narratives.

"Classifying countries in terms of income or human capacity/skill also ignores why some countries have become ‘high income/high-skill’ or ‘resource-rich’ while others remain ‘low income/low-skill’ or ‘resource-limited’," point out the authors.

They note that these terms can inadvertently imply that wealth is an innate state, rather than the result of structures including colonialism.

The authors also explain that terms such as 'Global North' and 'Global South' and even 'East' and 'West' are often used in a way that is geographically inaccurate (with New Zealand and Australia not generally considered part of the 'Global South' or 'East' despite).

While the article is aimed at global healthcare writers and professionals, it is a useful reminder to journalists to try to be as precise and accurate as possible in their terminology.

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