May 27, 2010

BBC’s religious coverage slammed

by Benjamin Graham

The BBC views religious programming as a “tiresome obligation”, a Radio 4 broadcaster has claimed.

Roger Bolton, who presents Radio 4’s Feedback programme, called for BBC News to appoint a religion editor to improve coverage of faith matters.

“I believe BBC News requires a religion editor, able to appear on the networks to interpret the latest religious story at home and abroad,” Bolton said.

He added that a religion editor would “bring a religious perspective to the vast range of areas such as foreign affairs and medical dilemmas where that perspective is so often, and so bafflingly, absent, both on air and behind the scenes in internal editorial discussions.”

He particularly criticised the BBC’s approach to religious coverage on television.

“At the BBC, television (unlike BBC radio) seems to be in the hands of the secular and sceptical, who view religious coverage as a rather tiresome obligation to be minimised rather than a rich and promising area to explore,” he said.

A BBC spokesperson defended the corporation, claiming that the BBC’s commitment to religious broadcasting is “unequivocal”.

“BBC News and Current Affairs has a dedicated religion correspondent, and topical religious and ethical affairs stories are featured across all our BBC networks,” she said, adding that BBC television devoted 160 hours to religious programming last year.

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