Select Committee on BBC Charter Review Written Evidence

Memorandum by M Atkins

  I wish to comment on the following questions which are under consideration

1.  Do different faiths (including no faith beliefs) figure sufficiently in BBC Programmes and services?

    —    Faiths of all descriptions have a disproportionate representation in all aspects of broadcasting. Not only are there programmes that are unambiguously religious but religious representation appears in many guises; videlicet; when seeking the views of a community it is all too frequently a vicar or some other religious devotee who is interviewed and purports to represent the view of the community.

    —  Those of no faith, a great proportion of the population, rarely have programmes devoted to their life ethos. The social mores denoting altruistic behaviour are show as emanating from religious teachings whereas the reverse is often truer with religions promoting strife.

    —  In general therefore faiths figure to a disproportionately large amount in what is a publicly funded broadcasting system. In effect the BBC is proselytising religion at the licence payer's expense and without their consent.

2.  How should faiths be represented in BBC programmes, services and governance?

    —    The BBC should stand aside from faith based content and abjure any faith representation. Faith or non faith is a matter of personal choice.

10 October 2005

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